Out of state travel with a child after a divorce can be a complicated issue. This is especially true if one parent doesn’t want the child to leave the state, either permanently or temporarily. Below, we discuss valid reasons to move a child out state. Furthermore, the law in each state varies regarding parental consent for these types of trips. In Florida, for example, parental consent for taking a child out of state is based on whether that travel occurs during or after a divorce.
Travel Out of State in a Pending Divorce
During a divorce, a parent who wants to take a child out of Florida must obtain the written consent of the other parent. But, what happens if the other parent doesn’t agree to the travel? In that case, the parent who wants to travel out of a state with a child can petition a family court for consent.
So, why was the law set up in this way? It is to prevent one parent from trying to disrupt the divorce proceedings by taking a child out of state. If the parent who wants to travel out of state with a child doesn’t obtain the consent of the other parent or of the court, then the court can cite him/her for contempt of court. Then, that parent will have to provide a reasonable explanation for their actions.
Travel Out of State When Divorce Is Finalized
If a parent wants to travel with a child out of state after a divorce is finalized, Florida law does not require that parent to obtain the consent of the other parent. Furthermore, you do not need to obtain permission from a family court either.
However, in some cases, the child custody agreement includes a provision that requires the consent of both parents before the child can travel out of state. In those cases, when a parent violates that agreement, the court can cite him/her for contempt of court. But, it is important to remember that a family court judge tends to look at what is in the best interests of the child. If a parent violates the agreement, the judge that behavior to not be best for the child.
The Difference Between Travel Out of State and Relocation
It is also important to understand that travel out of state with a child is not the same thing as child relocation. Out of state travel is typically for a few days or several weeks. There is an explicit understanding that the parent and child will return to the state where they live.
Child relocation, however, is a permanent move to another city within a state, a move to another state, or a move to another country. If one parent doesn’t agree with the move, then both parents must appear in family court for a hearing in front of a judge. At that time, the judge will review the motion to modify child custody. The judge may grant a modification after hearing from both parents.
Protect Your Rights
So, how do you avoid conflict regarding your children and out of state travel? You must make sure that the child custody agreement includes provisions related to these trips. You want to think about valid reasons to move a child out of state or even to travel. To think through these scenarios, you really want to talk to an experienced family attorney.
The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire can help protect your rights and your children’s interests. Call us today at 561-655-8844 to discuss your case. Our office is conveniently located near downtown West Palm Beach, Florida.