Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Child Custody

Parenting plans entered in Florida child custody cases usually include a relocation provision which states a parent cannot relocate with a child without the written permission of the other parent or a court order. Absent an agreement to the contrary, this is the standard imposed by Florida law, and the case Horn v. Horn, 225 So.3d 292 (Fla. 1st DCA 2017) is an example of an appellate court upholding this standard. 

Without the relocation provision provided by the law, parents may find it difficult to maintain and enforce their parenting rights, particularly when it comes to time-sharing. If parents were allowed to move at their whim without consulting the other parent, a parent could move out of state to deny the other parent his/her visitation with the children. 

In the Horn case, the appellate court considered the trial court's order which provides for future relocation for the former husband and allows him to move with the children without the prior approval of the former wife or a further court order. The order made findings of fact about the future relocation. 

Citing the fact that determinations about the best interests of children must be made at the time of the final hearing and supported by competent, substantial evidence, the appellate court reversed the trial court's order of prospective relocation. In essence, the appellate court was saying the trial court could not predict the future and therefore, the father should be required to file a petition for relocation at the time he intended to actually relocate so that the court could examine the merits of the relocation at that time.  

Had the former wife failed to appeal this order, the former husband might be able to relocate at his desire, threatening the former wife's ability to maintain significant contact with the parties' children. Having a Miami child custody lawyer assist you from the beginning of your case may make all the difference in obtaining an enforceable order.