Can I Move Out of State with My Child, Without the Father’s Permission?

October 12, 2020

Sometimes a new job beckons, or you want to be closer to your family. Other times, your child’s father is abusive and you need to get away safely with your child. In these situations, can you move out of state without the father’s permission?

The answer is complicated, and depends on whether you have a custody order, were ever married and how long you plan to be gone. If you’re considering an out-of-state move, it’s crucial that you consult with a custody lawyer in Tavares, FL. Many parents don’t realize that even when there’s no custodial agreement in place, it may be illegal to move your child out of state unless the other parent agrees.

What if there is no custody order?

If you need to leave your home, you’ve never been married to your child’s father and there’s no custody order, it’s legal to take your child with you. However, be aware that if the child’s father disagrees with your out-of-state move, he can file to establish his paternity and request custody or visitation even after you leave. Depending on your child’s relationship with their father, the court may not look kindly upon you suddenly leaving the state. If the father has a relationship in which they regularly spend time together, this may make him look more sympathetic to a family court judge.

There are many situations in which it can be necessary to leave the state, particularly when a relationship is abusive—and the court will probably take this into account, should the father pursue paternity, custody or visitation. However, for the most favorable outcome, we suggest consulting a family law attorney about your parental rights in Tavares, FL. With so much at stake, you don’t want to make a mistake that could cost you time with your child, or expose either or both of you to an abusive situation.

Keep in mind that there’s a big difference between moving out of a shared residence and moving out of state, too. If you move and the father decides to file suit, you will have to answer in that state—which could be a very costly and time-consuming endeavor. They may even require that the child move back to the home state without you until the case is settled.

What if it’s just a short trip?

You’re usually welcome to take your child out of state on a short trip, whether you have a custody agreement or not. Most custody agreements will lay out specific provisions as to when, where and for how long you can travel with your child. If you don’t have a custody agreement, it’s still prudent to consult a lawyer first—they will advise you whether to notify the father and if you’re treading into murky legal territory.

Custody issues are difficult and often painful for all parties involved. To make sure your child’s best interest is taken into account, call K.J. Law P.A. today to arrange a consultation with an experienced custody lawyer in Tavares, FL.

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