Florida Court Explains Standing to Object to Child Relocation

It is not uncommon for people to want to move from Florida to another state for personal or professional reasons. While people are generally free to do so, if they share custody of a child, their co-parents may object to the child’s relocation. Further, as demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling, people with time-sharing and access rights can voice concerns about a child’s relocation, even if their parentage has not been established. If you have questions about child relocation, it is smart to talk to a Miami child custody attorney promptly.

Background of the Case

It is reported that the mother and putative father, who were both married to other people, agreed to have a child together. After the child was born, the mother and her wife were listed as the child’s parents on the birth certificate, but the mother gave the child the putative father’s last name. The mother and the wife ultimately separated, and the mother moved in with the putative father and his husband.

Allegedly, the mother then left the child in the custody of the putative father for four months so that she could pursue an employment opportunity in another country. While abroad, the mother became engaged to a member of the military. She later returned to Miami to live with the putative father, but when he found out she was pregnant, he asked her to move out. The mother filed a petition for dissolution of marriage in which she alleged that the putative father was the child’s biological father and asked the court to amend the birth certificate. In response, the putative father filed a petition to determine paternity and to enjoin the mother from relocating with the child. The mother filed a petition to relocate with the child, which the court denied. The mother appealed.

Objections to a Child’s Relocation Under Florida Law

The trial court ruling was affirmed on appeal. The court explained that a parent’s right to make decisions regarding the custody of their child is a fundamental liberty interest, but in relocation cases, it must be balanced beside the right to travel. Further, considering both rights along with what is in a child’s best interests can be challenging.

The court noted that the subject case presented another layer of complexity in that it first had to determine whether the putative father had standing to object to the relocation. The court found that it did, stating that the parental relocation statute expanded standing beyond two legally recognized parents to allow any party entitled to time-sharing or access with the child to object. Ultimately, the court determined that the mother failed to show that relocation was in the child’s best interest and affirmed the trial court ruling.

Meet with an Experienced Miami Attorney

In cases in which parties share parental rights or custody of a child, the Florida courts will only permit one party to relocate with the child if it is in their best interest. If you need assistance with a custody or child relocation matter, it is prudent to meet with an attorney to discuss your options. The experienced Miami lawyers of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A. can inform you of your rights and help you to seek the best legal outcome possible under the facts of your case. Our office is in Aventura, and we often represent people in child custody matters in Miami. You can contact us via our online form or at 800-596-0579 to set up a conference.