What Happens to Your Children When Your Ex Moves out of State?
Hammering out child custody arrangements in a divorce is never easy. When one parent wants to move out of Florida, the complications grow astronomically. If your former spouse wishes to move away and take your children, what recourse do you have? A local family lawyer can answer this and related questions.
Typical Child Custody Arrangements
In Florida, both parents are acknowledged to have a responsibility to their children. That being said, when couples divorce, decisions have to be made as to living arrangements and authority for key issues related to the children. This can pan out in one of two ways:
Shared parental responsibility: Parents share responsibility for all things, from living arrangements to important decisions.
Sole parental responsibility: One parent maintains custody of the children, and makes unilateral decisions with regard to day to day living, as well as major issues such as education, religion, medical problems, and so forth.
In order for either of these arrangements to work smoothly, detailed parenting plans must be created and approved by a judge. In the event the parents are unable to agree to key points, the court will design an agreement. This plan should address several key issues related to the specific needs of the children:
Time sharing arrangements;
Responsibilities of each parent with regard to the children;
Communication arrangements for parents when they are not with the children;
Expectations related to documents and forms, etc.;
Loose plans for how to deal with emergencies.
When one parent relocates more than 50 miles away, it can put a wrench in custody arrangements, particularly if that move is expected to last for an extended period of time. Under Florida law, if one parent objects to the move, a petition must be filed with the court by the other parent detailing reasons behind the move and proposed adjustments to visitation and parenting expectations. The court will review the petition and make a decision based on the best interests of the child. Issues under consideration will include:
Each parent’s relationship with the children;
Whether or not the move is motivated by a desire to punish the other parent;
The connections of the children to other half-siblings and/or step-siblings in the household;
Whether or not visitation has been utilized to the fullest extent possible to date;
Routines in the children’s lives related to extended family, school, extra-curricular activities, etc.;
The children’s wishes, depending on their ages.
Representing Your Case
Situations involving children during and after a divorce can be emotionally charged. The family law team at Robert Foley Law, P.A. understands this and will put forth a vigorous effort to represent your case in a powerful way. Contact us in Cape Coral for a confidential, no-cost consultation today.