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People's Law Guide


Family Law Trends in South Florida

Beverly L. Vesel


By Beverly L. Vesel, Esquire

With over 30 years of legal experience in Marital and Family Law, my law firm has experienced a recent increase in the number of inquiries and new clients seeking to relocate out of state with their minor child/children. This increase could be due to many factors but primarily I find that the most common reason for relocation is for financial reasons due to the downturn economy in South Florida. The most difficult issue to amicably resolve is a relocation case.

Additionally, due to the fact that Florida is a transient state, many parents' extended family and support remain in other states. During a time of crises, such as a divorce, a parent typically reaches out to that support in other states. Sometimes employment opportunities exist "back home" when resources seem depleted here in South Florida. After going through divorce or during a divorce with children, many mothers or fathers seek opportunities elsewhere, perhaps near their hometown or state where their extended family and support remains.

When a divorced or divorcing parent seeks to relocate more than 50 miles from the original jurisdiction, Florida law requires adherence to statute 61.13001, which was modified by the Florida Legislature in October, 2009. This statute utilizes at least 11 different factors to determine whether the intended relocation will be in the best interest of the minor child/children. The divorced/divorcing parent would be well advised to research their proposed move well in advance and focus on the positive aspects of the relocation and their effect on the minor child/children.

Florida courts will examine the proposed relocation of the minor child/children and take into account the effect on the relationship with the non-relocating parent, the financial impact of the relocation, age and developmental stage of the child, the needs of the child and other aspects that would positively or negatively impact each minor child's best interests. It is important that divorced/divorcing parents seeking to relocate more than 50 miles from this jurisdiction secure the advice and guidance of a seasoned Marital and Family Law Attorney. Broward County and Palm Beach County Judges are reluctant to allow relocation with minor children without satisfying a majority of the statutory factors and showing that the minor child/children's best interests would be best served with the proposed relocation. The procedure can be complicated and involve many other issues which can directly impact the proposed relocation.

With careful planning and strategy, litigation to relocate minor child/children can be successful and allow single parents to pursue their dreams and move forward with their lives.

Beverly L. Vesel is an attorney practicing in Broward County and Palm Beach County Florida in the field of Marital and Family Law. This article is for general information purposes only and does not substitute for specifically tailored legal advice.

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