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Noncustodial father lives far from the mother, wants to secure joint custody

Your Question:
I am the noncustodial parent to five year old girl. Mother and i were never married but lived together for first 2 and a half years of daughters life. Then mother relocated without notice of intent to Alabama. Prior to that she resided in FL, where we met and daughter was born.

I am current on child support and took paternity test proving i am the biological father.

I want more visitation, court ordered preffered. Mother is in complete control and i see daughter minimally due to them being 12 hours away.

I also am considering joint custody. Would they have to return to FL, if so, if it is the "best interest" of the child that we share responsibility of parenting.

In addition, all of my daughters extended family reside in FL. This includes two sets of biological grandparents, a step mom and her family.

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My Answer:

I asked if you'd be willing to move to Alabama. Your response was, "Absolutely not. In no way, would we consider our moving to AL a resolution to this problem."

Then, I'd have to say that father has almost no chance of securing significant custodial time with the child, unless the mother is shown to be unfit.

The court won't force a child to frequently travel 12 hours (24 hours round-trip) by car. The plane flight would be a couple hours each way. It's possible that the court would at least make the mother pay half or all of the airfare.

Also, the court CAN'T force an adult to move (due to constitutional issues). So long as several hundred miles is between the parents (regardless of who caused it), the court will need to pick one parent to be the primary parent. The court will usually go with whomever has been the primary parent, unless evidence shows that parent to be unfit.

That's the way it works.

You and the father are choosing your current town (and everything in it) over moving closer to his daughter. That's a statement of fact, not a judgment. That choice results in the consequence of not having much time with daughter.

At best, father can try to get more time when child isn't in school (e.g., summer vacation and holidays). That would be a better strategy with more chance of success, over what you're currently pursuing.

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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