Q: My daughter wants to move to Florida with 2 younger children, can she?
She is not married to children's father and he has a rap sheet 3-4 pages long. He is in and out of jail and also drinks a lot. She is struggling to pay her bills, which I have been paying half of them. I live in Florida and she and kids can live with me and she can get another job here. I am getting ready to retire and will not be able to help her with the bills as I have been doing. However, after retirement, I can help a lot with the everyday schedule of the children.We talked to a lawyer about 1.5 yrs ago and he said she should not file for custody if she was planning on moving. Move and get a lawyer in Florida and Colorado and then file. She has not lived with the father of the 2 kids, age 7 and 4 for years and he pays no child support nor helps her with bills (because he is always in jail). His name is only on one birth certificate but not the other. She can't afford financially to stay in CO after I retire.The father's mother lives in CO. Can she file to keep my daughter there?
A: I cannot give advise regarding this as it would be dependent upon the laws in the state of Colorado. I suggest you consult with an attorney who practices es family law in that state.
If there is no court approved custody agreement in place or ongoing litigation, there is nothing preventing you daughter and children from leaving Colorado and no court authorization is needed. FL will not gain jurisdiction over the children until they have a permanent residence in FL for over 6 months. Until then, it is possible for the father in Colorado to force custody matters in Colorado. Even if this occurs, by law a parent cannot be prevented from leaving the state (however custody and visitation schedules will likely change versus the normal 50-50% joint custody favored in Colorado).
At this point your daughter can decide whether she would like to file in FL or CO. Another alternative is to never file. Each avenue has its strengths and weaknesses. You may want to consult with lawyers in FL and CO (most offer free consultations).
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