Relocating With Children Out of State

by Selena from New Haven, Connecticut

If I am getting married and my new husband lives in Florida can I relocate my children with me if I have a custody case in Connecticut?

Answer to Florida Child Custody Question

Dear Selena,

I don't know how it works in Connecticut. If the situation were turned around, and you were in Florida and wanting to move to Connecticut, I could send you to the Florida Statutes.

In Florida there are a few different ways to leave the state with your children. The simplest is to ask for and receive the written consent of the other parent.

Again, in Florida, (I can only speak with any knowledge of Florida), the courts support the idea that children need to have both of their parents in their lives if at all possible.

The courts do not want to see parents vindictively taking their children to another state so that the other parent can't see the children anymore.

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 Relocating With Children Out of State

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Can the Custodial Parent Move Out of State?
by: Anonymous from North Carolina

I'm engaged to a man who lives out of state and wants to move to NC to be with me. He is going to court to ask for custodial parent. He currently shares custody with his ex-wife. Will he still be able to move?

--As long as he can convince the court that the relocation is in the best interests of the children and that the non-custodial parent can still have a meaningful relationship with the children, then your fiance may have a good case. Of course, everything depends on their particular circumstances. Why not consult with a family lawyer in the state of jurisdiction? --Staff

Injunction and Relocation
by: Belkis from Miami, Florida

I have an injunction against my children's father (3 children, ages 11-3-4) that shall be in full force and effect until indifinate. In the Temporary Parenting Plan for Minor Children Section, it states that I shall on a temporary basis have 100% of the time-sharing with the minor children and sole decision making responsibility until further court order. It also states that I have 100% of time-sharing and he shal have 0% until further order of the court. Until further order of the court, all parenting decisions hall be made by the parent with 100% of the time-sharing (which is me).

My question is, do I still need to petiton the court if I would like to relocate from Florida to Georgia? I have th einjuction due to domestic violence, which all of our children have witnessed. He has not seen or spoken to us since July of 2011 when he was arrested for his actions. I have done research, and discovered that I could make nearly twice as much in Georgia (salary) than what I make in Florida. I am the sole provider of my children and would love a fresh, new start in more ways than one. Please help!!!

--My understanding is that unless your final judgment specifically addresses relocation, you still have to notify the court. The instructions on the Supplemental Petition to Permit Relocation with Children Form 12.950(d) states the following:
This form should be used when you are asking the court to permit the relocation of the principal residence of the petitioner if:

1. You plan to relocate your residence more than 50 miles from your principal residence at the time of entry of the last order which established or modified primary residence, custody, visitation, or time-sharing;

2. The court has not entered an order granting permission to relocate.

3. The relocation will be for a period of 60 consecutive days or more, not including any absence for purposes of vacation, education, or health care for the children.

4. Your order regarding custody, primary residence, visitation, time-sharing or parenting plan was entered before October 1, 2009 and the order does not expressly govern the relocation of the children; was entered on or after October 1, 2006; or your case was pending on October 1, 2009.

Moved Out Of State With My Son
by: Christa from Middle Grove, New York

I got divorced in 2009 and in August 2009 my ex stopped seeing our son. I got remarried in March 2010 to a military man. I asked my ex if I was allowed to move and he stated for me to do what I want and he wanted nothing to do with our son. So I moved to South Carolina and now am in New York. My ex is now wanting to see our son after millions of emails stating he is in rehab or he wants to sign his rights away or now he has a new girlfriend and wants to see our son. It's been two years since he even spoke with him.

What do I do? I am scared because I have no proof that he knew I moved and even his own sister has my phone number and knows where I am. But I tried to mail paper work to my ex but he refuses to give me an address and keeps stating he lives on the street. I currently have other children with my current husband and I don't know what I'll do if I have to move back to Florida without him.

--I doubt that over the passage of this much time, and the fact that your life with your son is so drastically different now, that any judge will force you to move back. This is not to say that your ex does not have the right to ask the court to look at the custody and visitation arrangement. If your ex files any court paperwork, I would suggest you hire an attorney to represent you, or at the very least to get legal advice. --Staff

Child Taken From Florida
by: Rick from Brandon, Florida, Hillsborough County

My wife, minor child and I went on vacation to Louisiana by car. I flew home after the weekend and she and my child were supposed to return the next weekend. At the end of the week she called and said she was not coming home. She is staying in Louisiana with my son. She has enrolled him in school there. I have informed her (by phone and by text message) that this is not proper and she does not have my permission to keep my son from me nor to enroll him in a local school in Louisiana. I want him returned. Does she have any legal ground to keep him? What forms do I need to file to gain custody of my son?

--What your wife has done amounts to parental abduction, and is considered child endangerment. You can file Florida Supreme Court approved form 12.941(d), Emergency Verified Motion for Child Pick-Up Order. The form and an Order to go along with it are available on the Florida Supreme Court's website at Instructions for that form state in part:
You may use this form to request that the court enter an order directing the sheriff or other law enforcement officer to take a minor children from the person who currently has physical possession of the child(ren) and deliver the children to your physical custody or possession. This form should only be used in an emergency by a person who has a per-existing legal right to physical possession of a minor child.
This means that you already have a court order awarding you legal custody of or time-sharing with the children OR you are the birth mother of one or more children born out of wedlock and no court order has addressed any other person's parental rights.
Since you are the legal father by marriage you have a right to child custody equal to your wife. Law enforcement officers of other states will follow a Florida court order to pick up a child. --Staff

Mother Left State With Son
by: Kylin from Pensacola, Florida, Escambia County

My son's mom took my son out of state to Alabama. How do I get him back or find out if he's safe? I want custody of my son 50/50 or 100% if I can. My son is my everything and I love and miss him more to even say in words. The reason they give for leaving the state was "because DCF called them to schedule an appt to check their house." I really need help to get my son back or to see him.

--I'm assuming from your question that you were not married to your son's mother. And I'm hoping that your paternity has been legally established. You might have legally established your paternity either by signing an affidavit acknowledging your paternity; been named by the mother as the father and have been court ordered to pay child support; previously filed a Petition for Paternity; or entering your name into the putative father registry.

If you have already established your paternity in any of these ways, and there is an order for child visitation in place; or an action for child visitation that is pending; you can file a Motion for Civil Contempt And/Or Return of Children, form 12.950(g). Instructions for that form state in part:
To initiate a civil contempt/enforcement proceeding against a “party who has relocated with a child contrary to the requirements of a prior court order, or is otherwise not complying with a prior court order concerning relocation, or in the event there has been a relocation in violation of Section 61.13001, Florida Statutes, you must file a motion with the court explaining what the party has failed to do.

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