A divorce can cause a lot of emotional turmoil and can disrupt the family for a long period of time. The children are of utmost importance when making the many decisions that are involved in the divorce process. In Florida, as in other states, the courts are required to make judgments that are in the best interest of the children. The major parenting decisions are handled in with a document called a parenting plan. The parenting plan details how the care and custody of children will be handled after the divorce is finalized.
Most parents today take part in what is known as “shared parenting”. This means that both parents share legal custody of the kids. Legal custody refers to the major decisions that must be made for a child. For example, some of the important decisions include medical, educational, and religious options. Physical custody is simply the location where the children reside. Sometimes one parent has primary physical custody while they share legal custody with the other parent.
Moving Out of State
Once a parenting plan is put into place as part of the divorce, it is a legal order and must be followed. Both parents are typically allowed access to their children. Moving to another state would severely limit the contact of one parent, so it is usually not allowed. If you are considering a move to another state and you are the primary custodial parent, you must first consult your divorce documents. Determine how a potential move is to be handled. This is often covered as part of the parenting plan.
Request a Hearing
A change to the divorce order, including changes to a child’s residence, must be made through the court system. Even if the other parent agrees to the move, the change must be made legally by a judge. However, in many cases the other parent will not approve of the move. The first step is to discuss the matter with an experienced divorce attorney. Your lawyer will assist you in taking the steps needed to request a hearing.
Preparing for the Hearing
The hearing is the court date during which the judge will review your request and make a determination. Both parents are required to attend the hearing. Each parent is allowed time to present information and data to support their position. It is important to remember that the judge will always make a decision based on what is best for the child. All aspects of the case will be reviewed when making such a serious decision.
It is helpful for parents to have a plan in place that addresses how visitation will occur in the future. When the children are older, typically over age 12, they may be consulted regarding their wishes. This would be done by the judge, often in chambers. The courts always make sure that the children are protected and the decision will reflect that.
If you are considering making a move out of state, or your former spouse has requested to move with your child, you need help from a skilled legal team. Contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and family lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+