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Can a parenting plan address concerns about a parent fleeing?

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2023 | Family Law |

Florida family law courts strive to address all issues while protecting the rights of all parties. When children are involved, this is a particularly sensitive topic.

In some instances, disputes center on parents wanting to spend more time with their kids. In others, there are deeper fears such as the prospect of a parent not adhering to the parenting time agreement and even fleeing with the child.

To prevent this, there are specific laws that address the issue. Both the custodial parent and the noncustodial parent should be aware of these laws and how they might impact their situation. As with any aspect of a family law case, it is imperative to have qualified guidance to navigate this worrisome terrain.

The law can address possible parenting time violations beforehand

Part of a family law case where the couple has children will center on child custody and parenting time.

In many cases, this is not an obstacle and the parents are not fearful that the other parent will violate the agreement. Others are different. The law will address the possibility of parental violations of a parenting plan.

The court will assess claims that there is a substantial risk that a parent will ignore the parenting plan and remove the child from Florida or leave the country entirely. A parent might also take the child and not tell the other parent where they are.

Once the court sees strong evidence of a “credible risk” that a parent might do this, the court has several options. It can order the parent not to remove the child from the state if they do not have a notarized approval from both parents or a court order. It can order that the child cannot be removed from the country without a notarized agreement from both parents or a court order.

It can order that the child cannot be taken to a country that is not part of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction unless there is written permission to do so. There can be a requirement that the parent surrender the child’s passport.

Contentious custody cases happen frequently in the Sunshine State. They might not reach the level where one parent is worried that the other will take the child and leave, but there are lingering fears as to what might happen. It is vital to have protections in place to ensure that the other parent will think twice before taking this step and to know what will happen if they do cross that line.

Continuing contact

In most situations, it benefits the child greatly to have continuing contact with both parents. That includes seeing them for extended periods, having a consistent schedule and the parents showing the capacity to work together even if there are lingering problems from the marriage and its breakdown. Still, there could be underlying worry about many parts of the relationship. The possibility that a parent will abscond with the child should be addressed.