Are Hurricanes (and Other Natural Disasters) Addressed in Your Parenting Plan or Timesharing Arrangement?

South Florida Husband and Wife have Children together.

Husband and Wife divorce.

Husband and Wife agree on timesharing schedule which is incorporated into final judgment.

Husband moves to an apartment east of Federal Highway, close to the ocean.

Wife and Children remain in marital home west of Florida’s Turnpike, well inland.

First hurricane season since divorce arrives.

A severe hurricane is expected to arrive during Husband’s timesharing.

Husband lives in an evacuation zone and it is anticipated that authorities will encourage Husband to stay in a shelter until the hurricane passes.

Wife suggests that Children stay in their own safe secure home with Wife during hurricane.

Husband insists on exercising his timesharing with Children, maintaining that whatever happens will be a learning and character-building experience for Children.

Such scenarios play out every year in South Florida.

And many variations of it.

(Husband lives in trailer … or houseboat. Or, Husband wants to take kids out of state – or out of the country – to avoid the hurricane completely.)

Unfortunately, the odds are high that neither the marital settlement agreement or parenting plan or final judgment specifically addresses situations like hurricanes.

Which are inherently emergency situations. Stressful and wrenching. Imminent.

One parent or the other – or both – start clamoring for emergency hearings over how to deal with the hurricane.

Just not feasible in the overwhelming majority of cases.

Although it may not be top of mind when your case is being decided / negotiated, what happens in a hurricane (or other natural disaster, especially where there’s warning) is well worth considering ahead of a crisis.

After all, at the very least, your children’s peace of mind may be at risk; at most, their actual safety and wellbeing.