Your Ex Left Florida with Your Child Without Permission | What to Do

florida ex permission

Coparenting is already a monumental task, even if your former spouse only lives a short distance away. That task grows exponentially harder when one parent wants to move 50 miles or more away, not the least of which because it requires the parties to revisit the child custody arrangement. But what are you supposed to do if your ex leaves the state without your permission or that of the presiding Family Court judge? If you are asking yourself that very question, please read on, then contact an experienced Pensacola child custody lawyer to learn what you should do.

Can your ex leave Florida with your child without your permission?

In order for a custodial parent to relocate 50 miles or more away from the current residence, for at least 60 days, he or she will have to petition the court for the right to do so. The custodial parent must draft a written agreement that includes the following information:

  • The address and phone number of the place where the parent wishes to relocate
  • The date of the proposed relocation
  • The reasons for the relocation, including a copy of the written job offer, if applicable
  • The proposed visitation schedule after relocation
  • The proposed plan for transportation

As you can see, even the custodial parent must surmount a number of legal hurdles in order to lawfully relocate. Even so, noncustodial parents have no such privileges and may face penalties for unilaterally relocating with the child.

Is it a crime for your ex to relocate your child without permission?

It can be. Florida statute strictly regulates parental kidnapping and wants to ensure a child is able to retain a healthy and stable relationship with both parents. Further, federal statute also protects the parent-child relationship through the enactment of the federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act. This offense, also known as “interference with custody” and defined as “knowingly or recklessly taking, enticing, or aiding, abetting, hiring or otherwise procuring another to take or entice, any minor from the custody of the minor’s parent, guardian, a public agency having the lawful charge of the minor, or any other lawful custodian,” is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine and 5 years of probation.

If your ex has taken your child out of state or you believe this might one day be a possibility, you should reach out to a skilled Pensacola family law attorney to help protect your child’s best interests. Please give us a call today, so this delicate matter does not get left solely to the police or criminal court.


For decades, the Law Office of James M. Burns has helped countless people through a wide array of legal issues, including those involving criminal law, family law, personal injury law, and will & probate law. If require the assistance of a competent legal team that can effectively guide you through each phase of your legal matter, you’ve come to the right place. Contact the Law Office of James M. Burns today to schedule your initial consultation.