Out of State Visitation and Custody

by Anonymous from New York

How would custody and visitation work when one parent lives in another state? If the mother, who has physical custody, lives in Florida but the father lives in New York.

How would custody and visitation work to the "best interest of the children" who have a very loving relationship with both parents?

Answer to Florida Child Custody Question

Dear Anonymous,

A very difficult question, the answer to which must somehow be found between the parents. The courts have struggled with this question for years.

After years of careful consideration, the Florida Supreme Court, the state legislature, and many concerned parties came up with the most comprehensive solution for Florida Pro Se filers that they could.

They recently published the Florida Shared Parenting Plan Form that considers the most common factors regarding the resolution of Shared Parenting in Florida family law cases.

It is an exhaustive well thought out attempt, but does not necessarily cover all familial possibilities concerning custody and visitation. It is however an approved family law form that is actually encouraged to add your own specific situation.

To answer your point about "best interest" directly, Florida Best Interest Factors changed on October 1, 2008.

Here are the new "child's best interest" factors:
(a) The demonstrated capacity & disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close & continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the timesharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required.

(b) The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties.

(c) The demonstrated capacity & disposition of each parent to determine, consider & act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent.

(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.

(e) The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption for or against relocation of either parent with a child The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home.

(f) The moral fitness of the parents.

(g) The mental and physical health of the parents.

(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.

(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the child is of sufficient age.

(j) The demonstrated knowledge, capacity, & disposition of each parent to be informed of the circumstances of the minor child, including, but not limited to, the child’s friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and favorite things.

(k) The demonstrated capacity & disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime.

(l) The demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities regarding the minor child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the child.

(m) Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought.

(n) Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.

(o) The particular parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities before the institution of litigation and during the pending litigation, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties.

(p) The demonstrated capacity & disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.

(q) The demonstrated capacity & disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse.

(r) The capacity & disposition of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child.

(s) The developmental stages & needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child’s developmental needs.

(t) Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific issue.

Have a look at our Florida Parenting Plans page for more information.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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Comments for Out of State Visitation and Custody

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Interstate Custody & 16 Year Old
by: Ruth from Bronx, New York

Run away from one joint custody parent with the help of the other custodial parent without notification. I relocated to NY 8 months ago, did my research understood could not relocate my daughter without consent from her father. After many disputes we verbally agreed she would complete her junior year. Once completed she would relocate with me. I did my part to keep the agreement when the time came for her to move but he changed his mind. So I made arrangements to bring her to NY while notifying him of all my actions as I proceeded.

She came and was here for 2 weeks, went to spend the night over a relative's house to find out when her brother got home she was gone. At this point I called her dad again and finally he told me she was on a plane to Florida. I asked for further info and he stated no he would not give me any more. She finally text me 8 hrs later telling me she was with her dad. I could not do a missing person report because she contacted me. Do I have any rights? What can i do if anything?

--At age 16, family law judges will take into consideration the preference of the child as to their living arrangements. If your daughter is determined to live with her father, in the real world, there is likely very little you can do about it. You could file a Motion for Contempt, alleging that he violated the custody order by enticing his daughter to leave your home and come back to Florida. However, he would very likely dispute your allegations and then finally explain to the judge that your daughter chose to live with him. --Staff

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