Mediating Relocation Involving a Minor Child under Florida Law: Exploring Section 61.13001, Florida Statutes
Attorney/Mediator Beth Reineke
Certified Florida Divorce Mediator & Family Law Attorney
30+ Years of Experience
Relocation disputes involving minor children can be one of the most challenging aspects of family law cases. In the state of Florida, these disputes are governed by Section 61.13001 of the Florida Statutes. As a seasoned family law attorney and certified divorce mediator, I have encountered numerous cases involving relocation issues and have successfully guided couples through the mediation process to find amicable solutions.
Understanding the Significance of Relocation under Florida Law
Relocation refers to a situation where a parent with primary custody of a minor child intends to move a significant distance away (50 miles or more), either within or outside the state of Florida. This geographical move can have a substantial impact on the child's relationship with the other parent, visitation schedules, and overall well-being. As a result, the Florida Legislature established Section 61.13001 to provide a framework for addressing relocation disputes and ensuring that the best interests of the child are upheld.
The Core Principles of Section 61.13001
If the parents are unable to reach an agreement, section 61.13001 of the Florida Statutes outlines the procedures and factors that must be considered when a parent wishes to relocate with a minor child. Here are the key aspects covered by this statute:
Notice of Intent to Relocate
The relocating parent is required to provide written notice to the non-relocating parent at least 60 days before the intended move. According to the statute, this notice must include specific details about the proposed relocation, such as the new address, the date of the intended move, and a revised visitation schedule, among other things. It is imperative that the moving parent strictly adhere to the statutes’ notice requirements.
Objection and Response
Upon receiving the notice, the non-relocating parent has the right to object to the proposed relocation within 30 days. If an objection is filed, unless the parents can come to an agreement, a trial will be held and the court will need to determine whether the relocation is in the child's best interests.
Best Interests of the Child
The court's primary consideration in relocation cases is the best interests of the child. Factors such as the child's relationship with each parent, the impact on the child's education and social life, and the reasons for the relocation are all weighed during this evaluation. (The factors the court considers are set out specifically in the relocation statute.)
Mediation as an Alternative
As a certified divorce mediator, I strongly advocate for couples to explore mediation as an alternative to litigating relocation disputes. Mediation provides a structured environment where both parents can openly discuss their concerns and preferences while working toward a mutually agreeable solution. This approach is especially beneficial when dealing with sensitive matters like relocation that directly affect the child's future.
“She mixed her life experience, and legal training, with patience, logic, and persuasion, to move our case forward to a more thoughtful, and peaceful resolution, for everyone involved.”
Mediation offers a distinct advantage in relocation cases because it encourages cooperative problem-solving and minimizes the adversarial nature of traditional litigation. Here's how the mediation process can benefit families dealing with relocation disputes:
- Neutral Facilitation: As a neutral mediator, my role is to facilitate productive conversations between the parents. I ensure that both parties have the opportunity to express their viewpoints and concerns while maintaining a respectful and constructive atmosphere.
- Focus on Communication: Effective communication is at the heart of successful mediation. Parents are encouraged to communicate openly about their motivations for the relocation and their desired outcomes. This open dialogue can lead to a deeper understanding of each other's perspectives.
- Customized Solutions: No two families are identical, and relocation cases can be complex. Mediation allows parents to customize solutions that cater to their unique circumstances. This flexibility often leads to more creative and comprehensive agreements that better serve the child's best interests.
- Preserving Parent-Child Relationships: One of the main objectives of mediation is to preserve healthy parent-child relationships. Through collaborative decision-making, parents can establish new visitation schedules and communication protocols that enable both parents to maintain a strong presence in the child's life.
- Privacy and Confidentiality: Mediation offers a confidential setting where sensitive matters can be discussed without the fear of public exposure. This can be especially comforting for families seeking to protect their privacy during emotionally charged times.
Relocation cases involving minor children can be emotionally charged and legally complex. However, with the guidance of a knowledgeable family law attorney and certified mediator, parents can navigate these challenges and find resolutions that prioritize the well-being of the child. Section 61.13001 of the Florida Statutes provides a framework for addressing relocations, and mediation offers a constructive alternative to litigation. By working together to find common ground, parents can lay the foundation for a positive post-divorce co-parenting relationship while safeguarding their child's best interests. If you find yourself facing a relocation situation, I am here to assist you in understanding your rights, responsibilities, and options.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Consult with an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.
Supreme Court Certified Mediator
Not all mediators are licensed attorneys - Beth Reineke brings legal experience and practical insights to the mediation process.
Over 3 Decades of Legal Experience
Reineke Mediations has over 3 decades of legal experience in helping families find divorce resolutions.
We believe any aspect of divorce and custody can be resolved without a courtroom fight. Beth Reineke has experience with mediating complex property division, entrenched custody disputes, and high-stakes alimony and child support issues. Reineke Mediations provides creative suggestions, gentle guidance, and reality check wisdom from years of hard work in courtroom wars.
We offer free phone consultations and reasonable rates for mediation, drafting of agreements, preparation of court documents and other mediation services. During your initial consultation, attorney Beth Reineke will discuss the benefits of mediation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR), and whether these methods are the right fit for your situation.
Experienced lawyer Beth Reineke encourages pre-suit mediation to work out the details of relocation. This stage, before litigation is begun, offers the best chance of an amicable agreement. When an agreement is reached she will draw up an agreement to be approved by the court. Attorney Reineke also handles post-filing mediation ordered by the court after a parent petitions to relocate. She is adept at helping parents see the effects of their decisions on their children, as well as the merits of an agreement that they control versus a contentious, expensive courtroom proceeding and a ruling that they don’t control.