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Divorced father wants to know if he can reverse agreement to let mother move with son

Your Question:
My ex-wife has lived with her parents since our seperation 10/04. Please be aware that she has chosen to be with her parents over me, which primariliy led to our divorce. After years of trying to get her to stay "home" she choose to be with her parents. My ex-in-laws have been my sons primary care givers practically since he was born (now 7). My ex and I are on very friendly terms, and during our divorce settlement, she asked if she could move across the state border. My original thought was she'd have to drive over my dead body to move out of state. Well, after re-thinking the "dead body" thoughts, I figured I'd rather have her move across the state border (which is closer to me) than a part of my state that is much farther. In my mind, it's more of a mileage thing vs state boundaries. So, I agreed. I'm concerned about my son. He has'nt been away from his Grandparents care from practically day one, and n! ow he will be alieniated from them. I did agree in my divorce agreement that she could take him to PA; however, can I go back and ask the court to reconsider the agreement? I currently am about 40 miles from him and as involved as my work schedule lets me. I work nights in a hospital and have to rotate my visitation with her schedule. I am concerned that he will not get to see them often and I will be limited to every-other weekend. My ex-father in law and I have helped coach him in all of his sports activities. I feel like I made a crappy decision to avoid a fight in court. Can I change this agreement? Do you think having the grandparents on my side will help? Am I able to secure custodial parenting based on this scenario, and let her drive down and get him every-other weekend? She is completly taking him from his known environment. As much resentment I have for my ex-inlaws, they have taken very good care of him and he is very loved. If she moves away, I suspect they won't move to follow her, and my son is stuck over there.

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My Answer:

Sorry, I think you're going to have to live with your "crappy decision" until there is sign of your son struggling.

You weren't coerced, forced, or defrauded into signing that document; and the court has the assumption that an adult who signs a settlement is fully aware of its implications.

The court will not allow a "do-over", else the already burdened docket will be impossibly loaded up with people who change their mind after filing a settlement.

So, it's time for you to take this time and bone up on how child custody rulings work, what to document, and have the long-term goal of arranging for a better parenting plan for your son (i.e., either by cooperation from the mother or by court order).

Unless there's some major tramua that is immediately apparent as a result of this move, you're now looking at a long-term strategy.

Of course, there's nothing preventing YOU from moving to the new location of the mother, and being a more involved father (rather than relying on your in-laws). It may be less convenient for you, there may be less job opportunity for you (e.g., you may have to take a lower position) but your boy would really benefit from it.

Good luck.


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.

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