Out of state travel with a child after a divorce can be a complicated issue, especially if one parent doesn’t want the child to leave the state.
But 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 is required to obtain the written consent of the other parent. If that parent doesn’t agree to the travel, the parent who wants to travel out of a state with a child can petition a family court for consent.
The law is set up in this way to prevent one parent during a divorce 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, he or she can be cited for contempt of court and 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, there is no law in the state of Florida requiring that parent to obtain the consent of the other parent, or to obtain permission from a family court.
However, if the child custody agreement includes a provision that requires the consent of both parents before the child can travel out of state, then a parent who violates that agreement can be cited for contempt of court. And it’s important to remember that a family court judge may decide that a parent who violates a custody agreement behaved in a way that was not in the best interests of a 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, with the 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, both parents must appear in family court for a hearing in front of a judge.
Protect Your Rights
The key to avoiding conflict regarding children and out of state travel is to ensure that the child custody agreement includes all provisions related to these trips. And the key to crafting a fair agreement is to hire an experienced family attorney such as The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire to help protect all your rights. Call us today at 561-655-8844 to discuss your case.