Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Custody

When a party has a pending petition for relocation in Florida, that party can file a motion for temporary relocation so that the party does not have to wait until a final hearing if relocation must happen immediately due to a job offer or other exigent circumstance. In the case Miller v. Miller, 1D19-843 (Fla. 1st DCA July 16, 2019), the mother appealed an order granting temporary relocation for the father.

In determining whether a temporary relocation should be granted, the court may grant this relief if there is a likelihood the court will approve permanent relocation at the final hearing. The court must examine all factors listed in the relocation statute (Florida Statute Chp. 61.13001) in arriving at its conclusion. The determination must be supported by competent, substantial evidence.

In the Miller case, the trial court found all factors to be neutral, meaning they did not weigh in favor of one parent or the other. The appellate court reversed, holding “We agree with the mother that the trial court’s determination of blanket neutrality regarding the statutory factors was not supported by competent, substantial evidence, as the trial court did not articulate how it reached its conclusions of neutrality. Moreover, the trial court granted the temporary order despite the uncertainty of the father’s chief exam status, which the trial court acknowledged was a factor that needed to be resolved prior to relocation. This led to an unsound, prospective-based analysis.”

The appellate court therefore “reversed the temporary order granting the father’s petition to relocate the minor children” and remanded “for a determination supported by competent, substantial evidence, including the father’s chief exam status.” Relocation cases are usually not easy to pursue in Florida family law cases. This is why it is important that you speak with a Miami child custody lawyer about your case to determine the best way to move forward.