Child Custody and Out of State Travel for Florida Co-Parents

Child Custody and Out of State Travel: What Florida Law Says

Child Custody and Out of State Travel for Florida Co-Parents

Many things, like vacations and out-of-state travel, can become a bit more complicated for co-parented families. Where you may have used to be able to just pick up the kids and head out of town, after a divorce, it may become a bit more complicated. Florida state law does not explicitly state that either parent is required to notify the other parent prior to taking the child out of state. Rather, the law references the child custody agreement to dictate whether or not a parent needs permission to leave the state with the child.

The Custody Agreement

There are several impacting factors found within a custody agreement that may alter a parent’s ability to take their child out of state for travel. The custody agreement is designed to be in favor of the best interests of the children. When questioning whether or not it’s ok to take a child out of state without the consent of the other parent, first consult the custody agreement. If there is a restriction about out-of-state travel, it would be documented there. Child custody agreements are individualized documents. Not all of them restrict out-of-state travel. However, it’s important to reference your particular document in cases such as these.

Out of State Traveling After Divorce

In most states, in joint parenting situations, there is not a specific law forbidding one parent from taking a child out of state, especially if the travel takes place during the visitation time of that parent. However, just because the law does not explicitly lay this out, doesn’t mean that the child custody agreement does not. After a divorce has been finalized, a child custody agreement should dictate the arrangement for out-of-state travel.

Out of State Travel During Divorce

Many states restrict out-of-state travel with children during a divorce without the written consent of the other parent or the court. There are a couple of reasons for this. The court seeks to ensure that the children are safe. Additionally, it’s important that both parents are on the same playing field throughout the divorce proceedings. Parents have been known to move a child out of state in an effort to gain leverage over the other spouse in the divorce. Restricting out-of-state travel during the divorce proceedings helps to eliminate this issue.

Moving out of State

One concern of parents is that out-of-state travel can lead to relocation out of state. This may be a legitimate concern. Out-of-state relocation represents another element that should be identified in the child custody agreement. However, if it is not identified, some states have laws restricting a parent’s ability to relocate out of state with their child without the consent of the other parent. Some states require that the noncustodial parent be formally notified of the intention to move. If the noncustodial refutes the move, he/she can file an objection with the court. The court then takes into consideration a multitude of factors. The child’s relationship with the custodial parent, the impact of the move, and the purpose of the move will be of primary interest to the court. Ultimately, the court will seek to identify if the move is in the best interest of the child.

Moving out of state and disregarding the state’s laws or child custody agreement can result in legal charges and being held contempt of court. It’s critical to understand the state laws as well as the child custody agreement prior to any out-of-state relocation.


Even if the law does not require consent from the other parent, it is good practice to keep him/her informed. Both parents should always know where their child is, who he/she is with, and how that person can be reached. This can prevent any confusion as to the child’s safety or whereabouts.

Out-of-state travel in divorced families varies by state and child custody agreement. When questioning whether or not out-of-state travel requires consent from the other parent, consult the child custody agreement. It’s important to understand that out-of-state travel during a divorce may be restricted in many states, check your state’s law to identify if it is appropriate for you.

Don’t discount communicating with your ex-spouse. Keeping the lines of communication about the children, travel, and more can ease the stress of the situation. With any specific legal questions concerning the child custody agreement or ability to travel, seek the advice of a family law attorney.