How to Handle Shared Parenting Plans After an Emergency Hurricane Evacuation

As a Floridian, you know that hurricane season can bring real worries each year. If a bad storm form sin the Gulf of Mexico or off the Atlantic Coast, then you might be told to leave your home during an emergency hurricane evacuation order. While this is problematic enough, more concerns will arise if you are a divorced parent with a shared parenting plan to try to uphold.

Our Florida divorce lawyers of The Virga Law Firm, P.A. are here to address some of your most pressing questions about hurricane evacuations and shared parenting plans. We hope to ease some worries and guide you to the right answer for your situation. Of course, if you have more questions, please feel free to contact our team at any time.

Parenting Plans & Hurricane Evacuations in Florida

  1. Am I required to follow my shared parenting plan if I was forced to evacuate due to Hurricane Michael?
    Yes, to the extent possible and reasonable. If you evacuated due to the hurricane while exercising your time sharing, you must be ready to return your child or children to the other parent for their scheduled time sharing. If your residence has been damaged, rendered without utilities, and you are unable to care for your children, then you still have to return your children to the other parent as long as they have a place to stay, such as a hotel, friend’s house, or other family member’s residence.
  2. What if both parents’ residences have been damaged and/or rendered without utilities?
    If one parent secures a place to stay and the other parent has not, use your common sense and do what is in the best interest of your children. Allow your children to stay with the parent that has secured a place for them. Should both parents evacuate, continue to abide by the shared parenting plan as instructed unless otherwise agreed to by both parents. Remember to always prioritize health and safety.
  3. What if it was my shared parenting time when I was required to evacuate, and I am at a hotel, friend’s house, or family member’s home far away?
    Try to work this out with the other parent. However, if the other parent arrives at your location for their shared parenting time, you are required to turn your children over for that parent’s shared parenting time, as you would under normal circumstances.
  4. What if I was forced to evacuate and my residence has been damaged to the extent that I cannot return home?
    If the other parent’s residence has utilities, you must make arrangements to return your children to the other parent.
  5. What if I am the primary custodial/backpack parent and I evacuated, but am unable to return?
    You must still follow your shared parenting plan when requested by the other parent. If the other parent has a residence with utilities and is able to care for your children, use your common sense and try to talk this out with the other parent. If you relocated without written authorization from the other parent or order of the Court, you may be forced to return with your children within 50 miles of your last residence, or be subject to a Court ordering a modification of your shared parenting plan. [See Florida Statue 61.13001 regarding parental relocation with a child.] When in doubt, follow your shared parenting plan and use your common sense.

Remember that you can always give us a call here at The Virga Law Firm, P.A. for detailed legal advice that is specific to your case. This article should not be considered as case specific to any one fact situation, but instead as a general guide to keep in mind. Always call an experienced Florida family lawyer from our firm at (800) 822-5170 before you deny another parent’s shared parenting rights to avoid complications and legal trouble! We look forward to helping you.