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Will a judge return my kids to me during a Motion for Return of the Children hearing if they are already in school?

Saint Petersburg, FL |

My wife left the state of Florida in the middle of the night with my kids. She has enrolled the kids in school in that state. I filed a Motion for Return of the Children because Florida is where they have been all of their lives. The hearing is set for after the start of school in her new state because of the courts summer backlog. I'm worried that the judge will leave my kids there if they are in school and I won't see them until next summer.

There was no abuse, she claims she was just fed up with everything, including her job. She won't let me see my kids and the rare phone calls are coached. The kids are saying horrible things about me and to me. What can I expect during this hearing, what's going to be asked, and how long is it going to take?

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Attorney answers 6


Anything is possible, but in the situation you are describing, it sounds unlikely. If a divorce action was filed and she was served, she was not allowed to move more than fifty miles without your permission in writing or a court order. Fleeing in the middle of the night really sounds suspect. It is more likely that her contact with the children will be restricted, if the scenario you are suggesting is factually complete.

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ******


It is not necessary for them to stay there just because they've started school. If the judge deems that FL is the state with jurisdiction and the mother took them out of the state without permission or a court order, he/she will order them back regardless of the fact that she put them into a school in this other state.

This response is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should contact an attorney to fully discuss your issues.


I have been practicing in St. Petersburg for more than 6 years. The answer will depend on the pleadings, any prior orders and why your Wife moved. St. Petersburg has great Judges who will listen to both sides and rule accordingly.

Do you have an attorney assisting you? If not, you may want to contact one that works in that court.

This information is a general answer and is not specific to any particular case. Carin Manders Constantine, Esq. 727-456-0032/ 727-488-8272


The court absolutely can and will enter an order making her come back to FL with the kids ASAP.


I assume you have filed this motion without the assistance of counsel. You should know that judges in Florida and everywhere else for that matter treat the issue of child custody and removing children from a jurisdiction with great caution and trepidation. They are all extremely sensitive to how easy it is to harm children caught up in a custody fight, more sensitive that some parents. There are twenty, count 'em, twenty factors in Florida Statute 61.13 regarding how the court MUST approach custody and timesharing, and there are thousands of appellate court decisions that interpret the statute. For a person with no training and no litigation experience to file a motion to return children is about as smart as trying to build yourself a rocket to the moon. If you care anything at all about your kids, hire a lawyer, sir, before you blow yourself up and destroy any chance you have of helping your children.


It's very difficult to predict what a judge will do under such circumstances.However, I would strongly suggest that you retain an attorney as soon as possible. Good luck

Bill Rosenfelt (407-462-8787)

Please be advised that any answers or information disseminated above do not constitute legal advice and that the attorney responsible for this posting is merely attempting to participate in a Q & A session intended to be helpful but certainly not intended to be legal advice. It is important that you understand that no attorney-client relationship has been formed and that the attorney has no obligation to follow up with you with your legal issue unless you separately contact said attorney and arrange for him to legally represent you.