Relocation with Children: Where are my kids?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire – West Palm Beach, Florida

With the economy in trouble and husbands and wives fighting over money, a common wifely threat is “I am going just leave you and take the children to my mother’s house!”  Ladies, unless you are under a threat of domestic violence, this is potentially grounds for losing your children, according to Florida law.  

So, if you just can’t take it anymore, and wish to relocate with children out of state, you must petition the local court for the move IF your husband does not agree to the move.   A judge will enter an order allowing the move only if it is proven to be in the best interests of the children.

What hurdles do you need to jump to prove best interests of the children?  First, the move can’t be for the purpose of removing the children from the parent.  Even if your opinion of your spouse is less than flattering, the children still have rights to a relationship with that parent, unless the parent is a drunk, drug addict, in some other way harms the child, or is generally an unfit parent.  Secondly, the move must improve the condition of the children, i.e. better schools, closer to grandparents or other relatives, a better job for the mother, a better home environment, a remarriage, new siblings.

So be forewarned that to remove children from a Florida jurisdiction, you either need permission from the other parent (get it in writing), or a court order.  To get a court order, you need to file a case, and litigate to prove that the move is in the best interests of the children.   If you don’t do either and just pack up and go, you stand to lose custody down the road in the proceedings.  Another important note:  you must inform the other parent of where the children are.  Non custodial parents are entitled to know the whereabouts of their children and to have unfettered telephone or internet access to communicate with them.  For more information, visit the Firm website at www.familylawwpb.com or consult with one of our experienced family law attorneys at Robin Roshkind, P.A. by calling 561-835-9091.

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