I have filed for divorce and currently am in limbo waiting for my lawyer to withdraw as I cannot afford his services anymore. I would like to move out of state (back home) to get a fresh start, I have a job offer, and provide a much better quality of life for our daughter (six.) I know I can't move with our daughter without permission from her father, or without consent from the court. I've basically had sole custody (not ordered, just the way it is) since we separated (three years ago), he sees her three weekends a month (Friday-Sunday afternoon). I feel like I won't be able to wait to move for the court order, if it were to be approved anyways, but I was wondering what my chances were of obtaining custody back if I were to move without our daughter, provided I receive long distance visitation and paid child support? Dad has never made any sort of child support payments, though they are not court ordered, he's never made a "good faith" payment.
This is in FL and I plan to move to RI.
2 Answers from Attorneys
That's too big of a question for a forum like this. You'll have to speak to a lawyer and explain all the facts. Probably the worst thing you can do is to move and leave your daughter behind. The statute (61.13001) allows for a hearing to be held quickly (within a few weeks) to determine where the child will live temporarily while the divorce is pending. You should probably get your move ready, then wait for the judge to allow you to move with your child. However, based on what you've said, I don't see any compelling reason why you should be allowed to move your child. You say you have sole custody, but it sounds like the father sees his daughter pretty often. And you haven't said why your daughter would have a better quality of life up north. because you'd have more money? How does money compare with having a father nearby? Relocating a child is a difficult proposition in the best of cases; your case sounds very, very weak.
This is a difficult choice. If you absolutely must move because of a job commitment then move however you cannot move with the child without the court order first. If you leave the child behind you will for sure hurt your case.