Q: I want to relocate out of state. I’m in FL with no legal custody agreement in place but he is involved voluntarily.
I am in a non ideal living situation due to the cost of living in the area. I cannot afford housing that would be suitable for myself and my two children. Moving would grant them and myself a better home setup (my job would follow). We have no legal custody agreement in place but he gets regular visitation and pays a small amount of child support monthly. Do I need to file a relocation petition despite no court order? Can he retaliate if we relocate without a petition or formal permission?
A: If you have never been to court for paternity, including child support, then you have full control over relocation. However, since the children have been continuous residents of Florida for the past six months, if you move and the the father immediately goes to court, he could attempt to force you to move back based on the UCCJEA (law on jurisdiction for children). You should either consult with a local attorney or try to speak with the father about what you want to do. You are probably asking for trouble if you just move without telling the father.
Terrence H Thorgaard agrees with this answer
A: As Mr. Lieber indicates, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (the law in just about every state) applies. The father could sue you in the Florida Courts until the children have been in the other state for at least six months. Neither of you could instead bring suit in the other state until the six months have transpired.
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