My wifes ex is the noncustodial parent in a joint legal
custody agreement of their 2 daughters. We have recently
relocated over 800 miles away him to which he has signed
and agreed to the move and the agreement was presented and
accepted by the courts. Now almost a year later we are
looking at purchasing a house just a few miles from our
present location (still 800 miles away from him) and he
says my wife is in contempt because she did not include him
in the decision of the girls starting a new school. I
think he's basically regretting agreeing to let them move
and is thinking about trying to get them with him. A) Are
we in contempt for not including him in the school
situation? B) What chance does he have for reversing the
In another email (not posted), you let me know that there are no specific orders on how education decisions are made.
Joint legal custody - barring any specific orders - means that each
parent has 100% authority to make decisions on behalf of the children.
Hence, the father also has complete authority to remove the children
from one school and enroll them in another. Realistically, of course
he can't do this from 800 miles away.
Sure, that can lead to tugs-of-war on a variety of issues. In cases
where parents can't agree on major decisions, the judge will either
make the decision or instruct one parent to make it.
So, it seems there is 0% chance of a motion contempt prevailing, since there are no specific orders that she violated.
To cover her behind, in the event that it's raised later in court, I
suggest that your wife send the father a civil, simple note akin to,
"Dear Frank, I'm understanding that you seem to have a problem with the
girls starting a new school serving the district where I've purchased a
home. Please advise in writing, within 10 days of this note, your
reasons for objecting to this new school."
If he writes back and says, "State testing shows it to be the worst
school in the county," then that's a valid objection.
If he writes back and says, "I'm angry that you didn't include me in
the decision," then it's a valid feeling, but it's not a valid legal
As long as she keeps him in the information loop and has good reasons
for her parenting decisions, then it's not likely a judge will find
fault with her.
And, in the information you've provided, I don't think there is any reason for him to
get custody. If you or the mother are addicted to drugs and hold raves
five days a week, that'd be a good reason to reverse custody. But you haven't mentioned anything like that.
This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.