Can I Leave the State With My Children During a Divorce in Florida?

Can I Leave the State With My Children During a Divorce in Florida?

As a parent, you have a number of freedoms when it comes to how you raise your child. However, when you’re getting a divorce in Florida, these rights can change. Depending on the custody arrangement, you may have to build your new life around certain parameters, including where you actually live. Further, if you want to leave Florida, say on a vacation or long trip, you might have to get the permission of your ex-spouse.

At Robert Sparks Attorneys, we’re well aware of the difficulties that can come up with a divorce in Florida, especially as it pertains to child custody. Whether you have an existing agreement or want to protect your interests in a potential custody arrangement, we can help. Contact us today to set up a one-on-one consultation.

Can You Leave Florida With Your Child During a Divorce?

Like many issues with a divorce, where you can and can’t go with your child depends on the circumstances. Generally speaking, this issue is addressed through:

  • Child custody agreements

Every situation is different, but usually, child custody agreements in Florida cover the following topics as it relates to your child:

  • Legal custody – This clarifies which parent holds the responsibility for making significant decisions in your child’s life, like education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. This responsibility can be either exclusive or shared between you and the other parent.
  • Physical custody – This specifies the timetable for when your child will spend time with each parent. It could be a fixed schedule or a more adaptable arrangement, taking into account the parents’ preferences and the child’s requirements.
  • Scheduling – Many child custody agreements lay out plans for holidays, school breaks, and vacations. Scheduling is typically included to make sure that both parents have equitable and consistent time with the child.
  • Communication plan – A communication plan lays out how parents will stay in touch with each other and the child, particularly when everyone is not physically together. It might cover things like phone calls, video chats, or other communication methods.
  • Dispute resolution – The agreement can also outline the procedure for settling conflicts or disagreements between parents, such as through mediation or court involvement.
  • Parental conduct – Certain agreements may contain provisions concerning the behavior and actions of both parents, aiming to create a positive and supportive environment for the child.

Going Out of State

If you want to leave Florida, either to fully relocate or simply go on vacation, the agreement may detail how this will be managed.  That said, there is a process in place for such matters:

  • Reviewing the existing order – The first step is to review the custody agreement or court order in place, if there is one. Such agreements typically specify whether you can relocate with the child and under what conditions.
  • Notification and consent – In many cases, wishing to move with the child requires advance notice to the other parent. Depending on the terms of the agreement or court order, the non-relocating parent may need to provide consent or may have the opportunity to object.
  • Court approval – If the custody agreement or court order does not address relocation or if the non-relocating parent disagrees, the relocating parent may need to seek court approval before moving with the child. The court will consider various factors, including the reasons for the move and how it may impact the child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent.
  • Best interests of the child – Florida family law courts prioritize the best interests of the child when making decisions regarding custody and relocation. Factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, the reason for the move, and the potential impact on the child’s well-being will be considered.
  • Modification – If the relocation is significant and affects the existing custody arrangement, it will likely be necessary to have the custody order modified. This would involve presenting evidence to the court regarding the changed circumstances and demonstrating that the modification is in the child’s best interests.

Obviously, moving out of state with a child is a huge decision, particularly during a divorce. This can add weight and possibly inflame already frayed nerves. So, it’s important to understand the process and reasoning behind wanting to leave the state.

Why Would You Want to Leave Florida With Your Child During a Divorce?

Again, it can be an extremely difficult decision to leave the state with your child during a divorce. With that said, everyone involved probably understands that a divorce is going to bring about change. Still, the reasons behind needing to move out of state are real. Typically, it includes the following reasons:

  • Job changes – If you lose your job or get a different job, it can affect how much money is available to support your child.
  • Remarriage – After most divorces, you or your ex-spouse gets married again, which brings new people into the family. This might affect things like visitation schedules or how decisions are made for the child.
  • Substantial increase or decrease in income – If there’s a big change in how much money you make–either a lot more or a lot less–it can impact the financial support that you can provide.
  • Changes in a child’s needs – As your children grow, their needs can change. For example, they might start school, develop new health concerns, or have different extracurricular activities.

Regardless of the circumstances, it’s in both your best interest and the best interest of your child to be transparent and communicative with both your ex-spouse and a judge. That way, you can present your case effectively. In order to make sure this has the best chance of succeeding, consider working with our experienced Tampa divorce lawyers.

Work With Experienced Tampa Divorce Lawyers

If you’re thinking about moving out of Florida or want to look at changing an existing child custody agreement, don’t hesitate to reach out for legal advice. Our team of caring and experienced Tampa divorce lawyers at Robert Sparks Attorneys can guide you on your options and what to expect. Contact us today to set up your one-on-one consultation.