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Custodial mother wants to move with child on temporary work assignments while also homeschooling child

Your Question:
My daughter is 10 years old and I have joint custody of my daughter with her father. Back in August, we started talking about homeschooling and he said we could give it a shot and see how she likes it and if she is learning. We bought an excellent program (switched on schoolhouse 4th grade) and a laptop just for her schooling. She is making A's and B's with this program and she likes it. It is very well rounded and more advanced than public school would be. We also started talking about travelling (since I am a nurse) and will take 3mo assignments in areas that are historically and otherwise educational. I told him it would only be temporary and that we would probably stop the travelling before her 7th grade year. We feel it is a good way for her to experience things she otherwise wouldn't get to. In december when I talked to him about it, he said that as long as she was learning it was ok. I assured him that we would work out adequate visitation and our legal residence would remain the same as it has been for the past 5 years. We told her of our plans and is very excited about the travelling. This last week he called and asked for her (he does not see her regularly due to his own doing, he can have her EOWkend, but never follows the schedule and hasn't in the last 5 years. This last time he had made no contact with her in a month) During our phone conversation he mentioned that he wants to go back to the EOWkend schedule, I reminded him that we will be travelling and suggested he keep her for 2 weeks every three months (in between assignments). This would be about equal to what he would have her if he had her EOWkend. He said that I have to have him sign something to take her out of the state (I don't remember reading anything like that in our decree, only 30 days notice and I notified him last december) and that he wasn't sure he was going to sign it. When I asked him why, he said because he didn't have to. I have quit the job I had an hour away and have been working in another city since december and have been commuting due to the travelling agreement I thought we had. I can't find any jobs locally, so the reality is I will not be able to find a job in my old town and my husband and kids and I will have to move no matter what in order to survive. I am the sole breadwinner right now because my husband is attending school. I am hurt and upset that my ex would give me permission and then when everything is in place to travel, he goes back on what he agreed to..and even mentioned that my daughter should attend regular school again. I feel this is coming not from him, but from his parents. They are probably upset she is leaving. She is doing fine in her current situation and enjoys homeschooling and is excited about travelling. I am unsure what to do. As far as I know there is nothing in our decree about education or moving (other than giving 30 days notice). At the end of our conversation he said he would think about it again, but I hate not knowing if I should plan on travelling or look for another job in another town. Any ideas?

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My Answer:

I'm an involved parent who has fought a couple of move-away attempts by the mother. In my situation, I know that if she is allowed to move with our daughter, my parental relationship is essentially dead; given that the mother has tried for years to get sole custody, move away, limit my phone contact, and so on.

So, I'm sensitive to any parent's wish to move away from the other parent.

If both parents are highly involved with the child to the extent that court orders allow them, then I'm a staunch opponent of move-aways. My attitude is, "Figure out a way to make it work, even if it means a parent has to suffer."

You've laid out a scenario of a relatively uninvolved father. If that's true, then I suggest you really think about what is best for your child, propose that to the father, and seek court orders if the father won't agree.

If you propose a reasonable plan to the court, I don't think you'll have a problem.


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