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Rights of Out of State Parents

How do you handle visitation with your children if they live in a different state than you do? What if no visitation plan was ever established? What are your rights as an out of state parent?

Your rights as an out of state parent are no different than if you lived in the same state as your children, under Florida law. If you have an established parenting plan or other type of agreement from Florida that addresses the children, that document will most likely use the term "shared parental responsibility." This means that you are entitled to an equal voice in the major decisions that affect your children, such as what school they attend, their religious training, or their medical information. This is true whether or not you live in Florida.

If your rights were not established and you want to get that handled, you should take the necessary steps to do so. In Florida, that means getting a Parenting Plan agreed to and ordered by the Court. The Parenting Plan will address how to handle the joint decision-making, and visitation.

Visitation with your children will certainly be more challenging if you do not live in Florida and they do. However, there are a number of ways to deal with a long distance parent-child relationship. You can see your children for extended school breaks and certainly for longer periods during the summer. You can Skype or Facetime them instead of just a phone call. This takes a lot of cooperation with the other parent but it is possible.

If you can afford to, you can have your children fly. There are a number of airlines that will allow unaccompanied minors to fly, but there are restrictions and an added cost. The airlines will only fly the minor children directly (meaning no stops and no changing planes). Typically, the airlines charge a fee for each way in addition to the ticket price. Once a child reaches a certain age which is almost always younger than 18, the airlines will no longer consider them minors. This age varies and is as low as 11 years old and as high as 14 years old. The additional cost of this can be addressed in a calculation of child support as a cost associated with facilitating visitation.

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Mercedes R. Wechsler, P.A.
1212 E. Ridgewood Street
Orlando, FL 32803

Phone: 407-440-0878
Fax: 407-839-0263
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