It is usual for people to change place from one state to another state after a divorce. Such change in place is smooth if the estranged couple did not have a child. However, if they had a child, the court must approve the relocation. The court will also pass an order about the visitation schedules, which both parents must respect. Many parents, however, disregard the original court order with the impression that they are protected from the laws of that state as they are now in another state. However, that is a major error of judgment.
It isn't easy to develop a child custody and visitation plan that meets the needs of both parents and the child. These arrangements get a lot more complicated when a custodial parent plans to relocate to another city in Florida or another state with the child after finalization of the divorce.
The Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act was promulgated by the Uniform Law Commission in 2006 and subsequently adopted by the state of Florida in order to deter and prevent the abduction of children after divorce and award of child custody. Stemming from the provisions of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement and further strengthening it, the UCAPA is applicable to both domestic and international abduction of children, which was discussed in the previous post.
Despite the best intentions of the courts and most parents in dealing with child custody matters, there are some situations where concerns may arises over the possibility of one parent disregarding the court directive and abducting a child. While state laws like those here in Florida address initial child custody and visitation arrangements as well as some remedial actions in the event of child abductions, prevention mechanisms may appear somewhat inadequate to many people, particularly where a child may cross state or international boundaries.
The presence of children can make divorce matters complex, more so if one of the parents is deployed in military service. At least in the abstract, it would seem incredibly harsh for a parent to lose timesharing with the child because of his or her military service. Sometimes, though, the other parent may take the opportunity to limit timesharing when a parent is away on military duty.
Soon-to-be divorced spouses may find child custody to be one of the major concerns after the dissolution of a marriage. Keeping the best interests of the child in mind, the family courts in Florida may allow one parent to have the custody of the child and ask the other parent to bear the responsibilities related to child support. Both parents have a legal obligation to contribute financially to support the needs of the child, and they should also be aware of the child support guidelines in Florida.
Our state's appellate courts saw some interesting child custody cases throughout the year of 2018. The Florida Chapter Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (FLAFCC) has put together a list of the top 10 cases of interest across the board. They touch on a variety of issues, with the subject of relocation continuing to be a "hot button" topic.
In the state of Florida, spouses may only divorce on one of two grounds: either the marriage is irretrievably broken, or one spouse is mentally incapacitated. In the case of mental incapacitation, a spouse must have been deemed such for a period of at least three years. To be mentally incapacitated means that a person lacks the ability to make independent legal decisions. For this reason, a court will appoint a guardian ad litem to represent and protect his or her best interests in a divorce.
More often than not, a step-parent and step-child relationship is completely severed when spouses decide to get a divorce. However, there are cases where the families have lived blended for a number of years, and the step-parent has played a significant role in a child's upbringing. In these situations, there can exist a close bond between the two, resulting in great emotional distress to a child when the parties split. So who gets to decide whether that relationship will continue?
Current and future residential locations of custodial parties are of utmost importance in negotiating child visitation schedules. If one spouse can foresee the possibility of future relocation across state lines, it should be mentioned in an original custody agreement. This prevents the need for modification of the agreement in the future, which can be quite costly. Almost every state has now enacted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which recognizes and enforces child custody agreements even when entered by a judge in another state.