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Father has temporary custody, now wants to move 300 miles away for college

Your Question:
My 4 year old son's mother and I have 50/50 custody. A plan in which I petitioned the court for shortly after our seperation about 2 1/2 years ago. My son's mother has, and continues to violate several provisions in our current parenting plan, some of which I can prove, some that are a little harder to prove. My son's mother became pregnant by another man weeks after our seperation and has a 2 year old son. She then met another man while he was in a drug rehab center and married him in january. She is now pregnant with twins from this man. She is unemployed and has been almost entirely since the birth of our son.

After several violations of our parenting plan, not keeping her house clean, being evicted from several houses for failure to pay rent, several speeding tickets, not using car seats, etc.. That is just a few, but I ultimately petitioned the court for full custody in Dec. 2005. Shortly afterwards I was accepted to a university about 300 miles away to finish my bachelors degree before I head to law school.

The judge referred us to family court after our first appearance. Family court interviewed several witnesses and eventually recommended to the judge that my son should be allowed to move with me and live primarily with me. They outlined a visitation schedule which I agreed would work. However, the judge has dismissed several of my attorney's motions to allow me to move on a temporary basis with my son to start school on time and said that this matter should be heard in trial. I know it is difficult to convince a judge a child should be moved, but I truly believe that it is in the best interest of my child to reside with me, and the move is for the sole purpose of trying to build a healthy and stable future for the two of us. Trial has now been set for Sept. 15th 2006.

My question, how can I prove to the judge that family court's recomendation should be followed, and how can I prove to him that the move will be in the best interest of the child. I believe that he should focus on the fact that I petitioned for full custody before I even planned on moving and that this case was brought on because of my son's mother's inability to properly raise our child, but I know he will focus on the move. Also, how strong is family court's recomendation, and the fact that they will be testifying on my behalf?

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My Answer:

Really concentrate on the fact that the judge is already showing reservations about letting child move with you.

I suggest that you drop this for a year, and shoot to go to school in a year. By that time, child will be primarily with you for a year, everything will be going great for him, and it should be a slam-dunk.

It just looks fishy to get primary custody and immediately want to move.

Judge looks at the mother relationship as more important than your education, so don't test him.

I'd suggest that anything you can do to nurture the relationship with the mother should be pursued. In general, I'm not an advocate of move-aways. If the mother/child relationship can be salvaged, it's my advice to stay local and try to fix that. It may be impossible, of course, but if there's a chance-- stay local. It'd help your kid.

Finally, with regard to your desire to advance your education and go to graduate school, I don't buy the whole "building a better future for us." There are millions of incredible parents in the U.S. who provide a tremendous future for their kids, and the parents did it all without ever finishing college. I respectfully suggest that this is primarily about YOUR desires-- nothing wrong with such desires, but let's be clear about it.

It's likely there are colleges either in your current town or much closer than 300 miles.

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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