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What if I move out of our home and leave my children?

The pressures and difficulties of a bad marriage can be torturous. In fact, some spouses may feel so tormented by their marriages that all they can do to improve their sanity is move out and find a new place to live. However, if you have children, you might not want to leave your spouse in this way as it could affect your child custody rights.

Family courts in Florida may view the action of leaving your family to find a new place to live as a form of "abandonment." Ultimately, it could negatively affect your ability to get custody of your children. In these cases, a judge will usually seek to award child custody to whichever parent stayed in the family residence. This is because Florida family courts would prefer to keep the children's home situation as stabilized as possible.

Alternatively, if you leave your home and take your children with you, it's a slightly different story. If you have the right kinds of facts and evidence to support your decision, a judge might interpret your moving out with your kids as an attempt to protect your children. That said, parents should have a good reason for leaving their home with their kids, and they should go to the court and report the action as soon as possible. Otherwise, the court might interpret the parent as taking the children unlawfully, and this could result in the parent losing custody completely.

If you're in a toxic situation in your home, and you need to protect yourself and your children, it's important to learn about your legal rights as a married parent in Florida.

Source: FindLaw, "Getting Custody FAQ," accessed Nov. 24, 2017

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