Can anything be done to help prevent the other parent from removing our children from the state or country in violation of a custody order (parenting plan)?
Yes. In a custody (parenting plan) proceeding (including a modification proceeding), if the judge believes there is substantial evidence of a risk that one party may violate the parenting plan and time-sharing schedule by removing the child from the state or country, the judge can order that the parent in question:
- not remove the child from the state or this country without the notarized written permission of both parents or a further court order;
- not take the child to a country that does not follow certain policies on international child abduction unless the other parent agrees in writing that the child may be taken to that country;
- surrender any U.S. or foreign passport of the child or if the child does not yet have a passport, that the petitioner place the child’s name in the federal Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program; and/or
- post bond (money) or other security in an amount that would discourage an abduction and pay for the non-abducting parent’s costs needed to locate the child if abducted.1
There are many factors that the judge will consider in determining whether any of the above-listed security measures are necessary and additional documents that the accused parent may have to provide to the court.2 You can find the actual language of the law on our FL Statutes page. Note: There is an exception for domestic violence victims. If you are a victim, and the other parent asks the judge to order these measures against you, you might be exempt (excused) from some of them if you can prove you are a victim (through a current injunction for protection against domestic violence, for example).3Please seek the advice of a lawyer regarding this matter. If you need assistance in finding a lawyer, go to our FL Finding a Lawyer page.
1 Fla. Stat. § 61.45(1)
2 Fla. Stat. § 61.45(2)-(4)
3 Fla. Stat. § 61.45(7)