It's every father's nightmare: an ex announces she is moving to another state and taking the children with her. All of a sudden, the time you spend your children may be far more limited than it was.
Can your spouse do this? The answer is, "Not so fast."
Your spouse can move anywhere and anytime she wants. However, if she wants to take the children with her, she needs permission from you or the court.
In Florida, you have a right to see your children according to the terms of your parenting plan. If your ex wants to move more than 50 miles away with your children for more than 60 days, she must notify you before relocating. If you object to the move, your ex must obtain court approval.
Florida courts are strongly in favor of both parents having a close and loving relationship with children. To move your children more than 50 miles away, your ex will need a good reason. The court will make its decision based on the best interests of the children -- not on your ex's wishes.
If the court approves the relocation, you may be able to negotiate modifications to your parenting time and child support agreements. For example:
- You may negotiate longer periods of time when your children will live with you during the summer or school breaks.
- You may negotiate lower child support payments to account for visitation travel costs.
- You can arrange weekly Skype visits so you can stay in touch with your children.
To protect your rights as a father, it's important to seek prompt legal advice if your ex announces that she plans to relocate with children. If your spouse moves without notifying you, she can be held in contempt of court, and you may be able to seek a change in child custody. Nix Law, P.A. in Orlando is passionate about protecting the rights of fathers.