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Divorced, divorcing, and unmarried parents who live out-of-state, intend to relocate or travel with children across Florida state lines or to travel outside the United States need to consider complex laws.

Even if a you or your child are not presently in Florida, Florida laws and Florida Courts may determine your parental rights and may control decisions about custody and travel restrictions regarding your child.

If you are thinking about divorce, establishment of paternity, or seeking child support, and if there is any possibility that either you or the other parent will want to relocate your child or travel with your child into or out of Florida, you should consult a Florida attorney BEFORE any plans are made, before you file your case, and before the child is moved across state lines.

Forty-nine (49) U.S. States, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands all follow the Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) rules to determine which state has the authority to decide child custody matters. When the parents and their children do not all live within the same state or when a child is being relocated from one state to another, the rules are complex. Simply put, in most cases, neither your nor the child’s other parent get to choose which state’s courts will make your child’s custody decisions without considerable advance planning. If you file your divorce or paternity case in the wrong state, your case may be thrown out completely, or you may have one state decide your divorce while you pay again to have another decide child custody. With advance planning advice from Brown Law, P.L. you can make informed decisions which affect whether Florida has jurisdiction over your case. Massachusetts and Puerto Rico do not follow UCCJEA and require special consideration.

Out-of-state parents can be affected by or subjected to Florida law if their child was conceived or born in Florida or if the child has been relocated to Florida for a sufficient length of time before a divorce, paternity or child support case is begun. Parents, in-state and out-of-state, have the right to receive notice and to be heard in all child custody matters.

When either parent lives out-of-state, special court approved long-distance parenting plans are needed to ensure that children have appropriate time and frequency with each parent, and to assign responsibility for transportation.

If the other parent of your child has strong connections outside of Florida or outside of the U.S., you should have Brown Law, P.L. help you either prevent out-of-state travel with your child or ensure that provisions for the safe and timely return of your child are included in your court documents. For out-of-country travel, refer to the U.S. State Department’s list signatories to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (80 of the 257 countries in the world are signatories). If your child is taken to a non-signatory country, you may not be able to get them back.

Brown Law, P.L. is a Florida law firm in Orlando, Kissimmee, Florida and has experience with many types of interstate and cross-border child custody matters:

  • Relocation of child from Florida to another state, with & without termination of parental rights/responsibilities
  • preventing relocation of child from Florida to another state
  • temporary relocations
  • interstate child support enforcement & modification
  • unusual out-of-state custody orders, such as “surrogate parent” designation
  • divorce with out-of-state parent and a child living in Florida
  • paternity and child support: Florida parent with out-of-state child; Florida child with out-of-state parent
  • long-distance parenting plans
  • return of children taken out-of-state without required court approval or in violation of court order
  • conversion to Florida close relative guardianship: children orphaned/abandoned by out-of-state parents
  • close relative adoption: Florida children of non-resident/non-U.S. Citizen; Florida children of missing parents
  • out-of-state / out-of-country travel restrictions / passport control: parents with close ties out-of-state/out-of-country/non-signatories to 1980 Hague Convention

Call Brown Law, P.L. if you need legal help with Family Law matters involving out-of-state circumstances, at 407-344-3400.