Emergency and Temporary Custody Orders in Out-of-State Custody Proceedings

People decide to move to Florida for a variety of reasons – job, family and weather. Invariably, some of these newcomers will be divorced single parents with young children that have child custody and visitation orders issued by a court in another state. In fact, deciding to move to Florida seems to be a popular decision if recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau are correct. According to the latest estimates, Florida’s population has increased by 5.8 percent between 2010 and 2014, which amounts to over one million new residents. Newly arrived single parents of minor children are still subject to the authority of the court that issued the original custody order until the parent and child have shown themselves as permanently residing in Florida. There are, however, a few instances where a Florida court can exercise jurisdiction over a custody or visitation matter before a new home state is established.

Temporary Emergency Jurisdiction

Any family court case involving child custody, visitation or time-sharing must include a copy of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) Affidavit. The purpose of this form is to notify a Florida court of the existence of any court proceedings concerning child custody or visitation finalized or pending in another state. Typically, Florida courts do not want to get involved if there is a question over which court has jurisdiction child custody questions. There are, however, two major exceptions to this default stance. In the first, a Florida court will issue temporary orders in situations where the child is present in Florida and was abandoned or the child, sibling or child’s parent is threatened with mistreatment or abuse. If another court still has jurisdiction, an order issued by a Florida court in this emergency situation will only remain in effect for a specified period the Florida court considers adequate to obtain a decision from the original court in another state. Additionally, the Florida court will communicate with the original court in the other state about the emergency situation, actions taken to protect the child and/or other parties, and how long the temporary order should be effective.

Temporary Visitation

The other instance when Florida courts will consider cases involving finalized or pending custody orders from an out-of-state court are when a party requests enforcement of visitation time. This provision applies to cases where Florida courts do not have the authority to modify an existing visitation order. In these cases, Florida courts will enter temporary visitation orders to enforce visitation schedules issued by a court in another state, or out-of-state visitation provisions that do not specifically list a visitation schedule. Similar to the emergency orders described above, the validity of the temporary order is effective only as long as the Florida court thinks the party needs to obtain an order from the original court. The temporary visitation order expires once the out-of-state court issues its own decision on the matter or the time period listed in the temporary order passes.

Speak with a Lawyer

If you are newly arrived to this state and have custody orders from another state, you probably have questions about how to apply the provisions in the order now that you are in a new jurisdiction. Working through the steps needed to transfer court authority over questions of child custody is a technical process that is best approached through working with a family law attorney familiar with this process. Stok Kon + Braverman, located in Fort Lauderdale and Boynton Beach, bring experience with child custody issues in many different situations. Contact the nearest office today to schedule a consultation.