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Fort Myers Florida Family Law Legal Blog

What stops the other parent from leaving Florida with my child?

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2023 | Child Custody |

Child custody and parenting time are common issues in many Florida divorces regardless of the financial situation. In some cases, however, a parent might have significant means and the ability to leave the state or country at any time.

In complicated cases, one parent might be concerned that the other parent will depart without permission. If this is a possibility, it is important to know what the law says about such a circumstance and what it can do to prevent it from happening.

Addressing the risk of a child being removed without permission

If there is a parenting plan with a time-sharing schedule and there is evidence that a parent might violate it by taking the child out of the state or country without letting the other parent know where they are, the court has options to prevent this from happening.

First, it can issue an order that the parent not remove the child from Florida without having notarized, written permission from the other parent or a court order. It can order that the parent not remove the child from the United States without similar permission or a court order. It can order the parent not to bring the child to a country that is not part of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction without the other parent agreeing.

In addition, the court can order that the child’s passport be surrendered. Without surrendering the passport, the child’s name can be placed in the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program of the U.S. State Department; a foreign passport in the child’s name could be surrendered; and the parent will not apply for a new passport or visa. There can also be a bond or some other form of security posted to deter the possible abduction.

Parents should be protected in complex custody and parenting-time situations

In high-asset divorce cases where a parent might have the wherewithal, the property and a place to go outside of Florida or outside of the United States entirely, it is possible that the other parent will fear them leaving with the child without permission. These rules are designed to prevent that.

In cases where this is a potential obstacle, it is imperative to have legal protection from the start. This can prevent a challenging child custody and parenting time dispute to get the child back and provide protection for both parents and the child.

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