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Can your ex just pack up and take your kids to another state?

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2019 | Uncategorized |

Life during and after a divorce is usually full of a lot of change, some obvious and some unexpected. You obviously know you won’t continue to live with your former spouse and that you will have to split your assets and the custody of your children. What you might not consider is all of the secondary social, financial and emotional repercussions from a divorce.

It is common for people to experience professional changes at the same time that they experience personal changes, which might mean that you or your ex will change careers or at least jobs. Unfortunately, that change could mean that current living circumstances won’t work indefinitely for your family.

If your ex wants to leave the state of Florida for a new job, relationship or home, you may find yourself worrying about the custody of your children. The good news is that it is not legal for one parent to simply leave the state with the kids.

Temporary and permanent custody orders address relocation

Safeguarding the relationship between parents and children is usually one of the top priorities for the family courts. In order to prevent one parent from intentionally alienating the children from the other, the courts will typically order some kind of shared custody or visitation as well as limiting how far away either parent can travel with the children.

Temporary travel, such as vacations, as well as permanent relocations, have strict limits placed on them in divorce. The parent must comply with these restrictions or ask the courts to formally waive them before traveling or moving with the children. Leaving with the children may constitute parental abduction.

Usually, the courts restrict relocation with children after a divorce to the same county or a specific number of miles. In some cases, they may even order the parents to stay in the same school district. If either parent wants to change those restrictions or deviate from them, they absolutely must request a hearing from the courts and provide evidence for why they want to travel or leave the state with the children.

You can fight against relocation intended to separate you from the kids

If your spouse wants to leave a decent job and living situation to pursue similar circumstances elsewhere just to get away from you, the courts are highly unlikely to approve a relocation request. The request should come from a desire to be closer to family or pursue a better career or living arrangement. It should not stem from one parent’s desire to sever the ties of the other to the children.

If you have evidence that your ex’s intentions stem from a desire to alienate rather than the best interest of the children, whether it is an angry text or a voicemail saying you’ll never see the kids again, presenting that to the courts can influence their decision. As a parent with visitation or custody rights, you can ask the courts to not approve a relocation request or even seek primary custody if your ex wants to leave the state.

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