Currently, we have shared parenting plan. Our daughter lives majority of time with me, and child support is garnished from father's paycheck. The house that my daughter and I were residing in will soon be sold at a foreclosure auction. I have no relatives here, while father has his family. He is residing with his sister and her family, and schizophrenic brother in the same house. I found a friend in Tampa area (130 miles away) who is allowing me to stay in their house in exchange for some help. Father is not allowing me to take my daughter with me. I hate to leave my daughter with him but dont see other choice and time is tight. I can visit my daughter every Saturday or Sunday but no longer will be primary parent. Can I lose custody of my child because I left her with her father?
General Practice Lawyer
Based upon the facts provided, if you leave your child with him, then you are in essence agreeing to a new parenting plan (i.e. "Implied Timesharing Plan"). However, the Father cannot "not allow" you to take your daughter with you. If he refuses to "agree" to letting you move (relocate), then you must file a Supplemental Petition to Permit Relocation with Minor Child(ren). There is a form available for you from the Florida Supreme Court and I have included the link for you below.
You can fill this out yourself, however, I highly recommend that you either hire a qualified and experienced family law attorney or, if you cannot afford one, seek the help of your local Legal Aid Office. Best of luck to you and your daughter!
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Contracts / Agreements Lawyer
I do not entirely agree with the advice of my colleague. While she has provided sound advice, I caution you to avoid relocation without having an attorney carefully review the divorce order. Generally, a party cannot move with the child more than 50 miles without court approval. Therefore, if you do so the father could file a motion for contempt and it could come back to hurt your favorable custody arrangement. I would immediately consult with an attorney to file a petition for relocation. If you file the petition, and grant temporary custody to he father it is VERY unlikely that the court will allow him to become the primary parent. If you would like a free telephone consultation do no hesitate to email or call my office. I am located in Jacksonville, but provide services throughout most of the state. I accept payment plans and offer document drafting assistance and Pro Se advice for those that cannot afford full representation. Best of Luck.
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Both of the attorneys above have presented good points - and I get the feeling that the relocation law is applied differently in different parts of the state. If you file a petition for relocation and seek temporary relocation, the Court should schedule an expedited hearing on the matter to resolve if (on a temporary basis) quickly enough that you may not have to give your child to the Father. Barring specific provisions in your Final Judgment, relocation is governed by statute and does require the filing of a petition to relocate where the other party does not consent. I would encourage you to retain counsel to get it done, though it is possible to do on your own if you cannot afford an attorney. Giving your child to the other parent and effectively surrendering timesharing almost always creates a de facto timesharing problem and I would encourage you to stay put with your daughter until the judge has the chance to rule on the relocation temporarily.
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