In a recently decided child relocation case, the parties had two minor children. The Wife wanted to relocate to Virginia with the children. The Husband opposed the relocation. The parties lived in Virginia for many years prior to moving to Florida. After the parties lived in Florida for two years, the wife filed a petition for divorce. The wife requested that the trial court permit her to relocate with the children because she believed that the relocation would be in the children’s best interest. Additionally, she argued that the relocation would eliminate her need to constantly travel for work.
The Florida Court of Appeal ruled that the parent desiring to relocate has the initial burden of proof to show that the proposed child relocation is in the best interests of the children. Once the parent desiring to relocate meets this initial burden of proof, the burden of proof then shifts to the parent who opposes the relocation. A trial court is not permitted to permit or deny a relocation based on events that may occur in the future. A trial court cannot consider events that are anticipated or have the potential of occurring in the future. Relocation decisions must be made as of the time that the final hearing takes place. A court may not make its determination based upon whether a relocation would be in the best interests of the children in the future, because the relocation factors could change with the passage of time. A trial court cannot attempt to predict whether an event will or will not occur in the future and cannot base its decision upon an attempted prediction.
To speak with a child relocation attorney in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 363-3400.