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Mother getting remarried and wants to move


Your Question:
I was happily married for 8 years to whom I thought was a wonderful man. We divorced because we were not in the same place emotionally. We did our divorce and parenting plan together without issue. I accepted $150/per month child support and he in turn said he would not fight for custody if I gave him the times specified in the plan. The State would have had him pay around $600 a month in child support. The parenting plan included Mon and Wed from 4-8 and every other weekend. After we divorced we both decided we wanted to move to Idaho in order to move away from our past,his girlfriends and I had a excellent job offer. My ex promised he would follow, but didn't follow nor make any attempts to visit our child. I did send our child to see him at least fifteen times over the year he was still 500 miles away. I had met another man and spoke to my ex about moving away with him at this point he decided he was ready to move to where I was currently located and file for primary custody. This has now gotten extremly ugly and my son is suffering for it. He always saw my ex and I as friends, but now we are having to meet in a public place and everything is by the book. My ex and I recently sat down for dinner and discussed everything he agreed to approve the move, and the revision to the parenting plan if I pay him a substancial amount of money. I look at as I will pay at least that amount to my attorney if we go a to court and this will remove all of the tension of wondering what the other one is up to, but in the new parenting plan he is requesting that there are provisions against another move and if my son is not allowed to fly. He wants it to state if I move within three years he recieves primary custoday or if I prevent my son from his scheduled visitation he receives primary custody. My attorney is not supporting this in the parenting plan because he says I will regret these statements. This is a deal breaker with the ex. Does anyone have advice as to where to take this next? The other tid bit is the main reason I would make this move is so I can stay home with my boys instead of working beyond full time. Thanks for any advice.

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My Answer:
Hi,

It's in a child's best interest to have both parents involved in the same town, so long as both parents are healthy. It took dad a year to get to your town, and you clarified to me (in another email) that he's been living in the same town as you and you want to move 2500 miles away across the country.

I'd be concerned about what 2500 miles will do to the son's relationship with his father. I would hope that the son will spend holidays, school breaks, and most of the summer with his dad. Obviously, I'm making assumptions that dad is a good parent, and that they have a good bond. If Dad is a loser who doesn't want to spend much time with his kid, then I don't have many concerns about your desire to move.

You have probably triggered something common that naturally happens in parents when another parent gets remarried. Dad is having to deal with feeling like he's being replaced by the man you're going to marry.

You add a HUGE blow on top of that by advising your intent to move 2500 miles away to be with the "new and improved dad" (i.e., not suggesting this is what you said, but it's what dad may be feeling).

Further, part of this may be due to that the father is planning on moving to your new location, and he doesn't want to go through this ever again.

I'm just laying out the likely situation you're facing, so you can understand what terms you can offer that can hopefully seal the deal, avoid trial, not expose son to rising conflict between parents, and avoid huge attorney fees.

On his first demand... switching custody if you move again within 3 years. That has to be carefully crafted to give him what he wants without jeopardizing your own interests. What if you "move again" to an apartment one block away? He gets custody? Obviously not.

However, I think orders that you can live with would be, "Physical custody to reverse if one of the two following scenarios occurs within 3 years of entry of these orders: 1) If mother changes primary residence of child in a manner that adds more than 100 miles greater distance between mother and father's homes while father does not have a primary residence in mother's state; or 2) If mother changes primary residence of child in a manner that causes an increase of more than 20 miles while father has a primary residence within mother's state."

With that approach, you assure the father that you won't move substantially farther away while he's out of state. Further, if he does follow you, you're assuring him that you won't move again anytime soon if he goes to the major trouble of relocating (again) to the child's place of residence. At the same time, by making "distance" the measure, you're protecting your own ability to move in a 2500 mile circle around father's residence (i.e., you just can't move FARTHER AWAY).

On the second demand... switching custody if you prevent son from flying to see him. If you lay out a clear parenting plan in which both parties know when son is to spend time with dad, this shouldn't be an issue. Possible contempt of court (i.e., which could be criminal in nature) ensures that both parents follow that exact schedule. You can also have a clause that parents are allowed to modify the parenting plan through mutual written agreement.

To assure the father, you may want to offer to add a clause that, "While father's primary residence is more than 200 miles away from mother's primary residence, mother will arrange flight transportation that arrives in father's city of residence no more than 90 minutes after the start of father's custodial time with child. Mother will arrange return flight transportation that departs from father's city of residence not earlier than 90 minutes prior to the end of father's custodial time with child. Neither parent shall be held responsible for flight delays beyond their control. Mother will provide father with child's flight information at least 7 days in advance of child's travel. If father's primary residence is ever less than 200 miles away from mother's primary residence, transportation will be the responsibility of the parent picking up the child."

This way, it's clearly outlined what the expectations are for transportation. Because you're the one moving, I suggest that you pay for all travel costs to get the son to his father. Because it's possible that father may move closer to you again, I suggest the clause in there that splits transportation responsibilities in the event that occurs (i.e., and avoid a future argument about "what now?").

I would think that if you approach the outstanding issues in the manner I describe, you'll probably satisfy father's concerns.

If you or your attorney have major issues with anything I've proposed, then I'm probably missing some information about your intent regarding the next three years.

Good luck.

Eric





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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