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Author Topic: Relocation- custody concerns.  (Read 6504 times)

redbabyblue70

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Relocation- custody concerns.
« on: Jul 21, 2011, 07:10:39 PM »
I am hoping for some help/suggestions/guidance from anyone that may be or has been in this situation.  My husband and his former wife have a custody arrangement in the state of PA  with a 50/50 shared joint and physical custody of their three children.  My husband has been looking for full time permanent work for almost three years now in our area and has had no success.  He has found temporary work, but not permanent work.  Thankfully, I have a job that provides medical benefits.  I also cover the children since both my husband and his former wife do not have jobs that provide adequate health coverage for their children.  The company I work for has locations throughout the United States and in Germany.  We decided to research what positions are available in different states (preferably where it is not as cold as it is here).  I found a position that is open in our Dallas, TX office. 
 
Here comes the questions:
 
1) How do you go about sharing custody when you move outside of the state where right now both parents live?  Per the custody order, he is required to inform the county and his former wife of his relocation
 
We feel this move will be in the best interest of our family.  Jobs seems to be more plentiful in this location.  We also feel the school district in Texas is a great improvement compared to the school district the children currently attend. 
 
We both feel his former wife is not going to cooperate with us once we inform her of our decision.  We hope to inform her of all the good points, and come to an arrangement where the children live with us for the school year (with visitation to her during holidays) and then live with her during the summer months.
 
Has anyone ever gone through a move where one parent lives in one state, and the other parent lives in another state, where an original custody order is a 50/50 arrangement?


tigger

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Re: Relocation- custody concerns.
« Reply #1 on: Jul 21, 2011, 07:40:54 PM »
You and your husband can move but there's no valid reason for the children to go with you.  And 50/50 isn't really possible long distance.
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redbabyblue70

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Re: Relocation- custody concerns.
« Reply #2 on: Jul 21, 2011, 08:08:29 PM »
I find it interesting that you feel a better education is not a justified reason for the children to be relocated-.  I know it has been quite a while since I have posted in the forum so maybe I should provide some additional background information.  We have a PFA against the BM's boyfriend because he elected to hit my stepson for not finishing his dinner (he had a bite or two left).  He was (and probably still is) touching my stepdaughters in appropriately.  BM's home was foreclosed on, and when she moved into the apartment where they are now living, she told the children and my husband that her boyfriend was not moving in with them.  Well, it is almost 2 years later and he is still living there with them.  Not only does this man have a PFA against him from my stepchildren (filed by their father), there is a PFA against him on behalf of his own daughter.
 
Unfortunately, the PFA has special circumstances, in which the custody order between my husband and his former wife is still in place, which is why this man is still able to reside with them.  Imagine having to live in the same home with your abuser??????  There is nothing else we are able to do to protect them until he HURTS them again.
 
We are looking for guidance/advice from anyone that has filed for custody arrangements when one parent is living in one state and the other parent has moved to a different state.  I understand 50/50 is difficult, but I am sure it can be done.

tigger

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Re: Relocation- custody concerns.
« Reply #3 on: Jul 21, 2011, 10:50:21 PM »
I find it interesting that you chose to initially post only the educational part and not the abuse.  If you had no objections to the education the children have been receiving prior to your decision to move then there would be no real reason to use that as a change in circumstances in asking the judge to grant you primary care custody and allow a move away.  I based my response on the information presented and came to a logical conclusion . . . feelings had nothing to do with it.  I didn't go back and research your history. 

I'm not sure why you are so certain that 50/50 is possible with thousands of mile in between you but perhaps someone can has some experience to support your certainty. 

What are the ages of the children?  Perhaps they are old enough to voice their desires and the reasons for said desires.
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redbabyblue70

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Re: Relocation- custody concerns.
« Reply #4 on: Jul 22, 2011, 12:05:16 PM »
I really didn't want to discuss all the gory details if I didn't have to- but since you said there was no valid reason to relocate them (and I'm sorry, I still feel the ability to provide a better education opportunity for all three children IS a valid reason) I shared that additional information as well. 
 
The oldest girl is 15, next girl is 12 and the youngest (son) just turned 10 on the 18th.  They may want to come along on their own.  I am in the interview stage of the new job, so there is no point asking them until plans are more definite.  I am trying to research our options once we know we are definitely moving.


Kitty C.

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Re: Relocation- custody concerns.
« Reply #5 on: Jul 22, 2011, 09:05:11 PM »
'...and I'm sorry, I still feel the ability to provide a better education opportunity for all three children IS a valid reason...'
 
YOU may think so, but the court does not.  That is the reason for tigger's response.  As tigger said, 'If you had no objections to the education the children have been receiving prior to your decision to move then there would be no real reason to use that as a change in circumstances in asking the judge to grant you primary care custody and allow a move away.'
 
If you already have an original order, what you are contemplating is a modification of that order.  And in order to prove to the court that they should grant a modificaton, YOU have to prove 'a significant change of circumstance'.  In most family courts, that means something extremely detrimental has to be affecting the kids, to the point that radically changing the original order is the only way to protect the kids.  A better school doesn't meet that standard.
 
'Unfortunately, the PFA has special circumstances, in which the custody order between my husband and his former wife is still in place, which is why this man is still able to reside with them.'  I'm not understanding this at all and I can't see CPS/DFS going along with it, either.......but that is the ONLY issue that is going on that might be considered a significant change of circumstance for modification.  BUT....if this situation was known before the original order was signed, it's a moot point, because your DH knew it was going on and signed the order anyway, giving his approval.  And even if the order was signed before the PFA became necessary, you yourself said it's been going on for more than 2 years and the court will find it hard to believe that it should be considered an issue now.
 
You and your DH have your work cut out for you....
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redbabyblue70

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Re: Relocation- custody concerns.
« Reply #6 on: Jul 23, 2011, 06:09:33 AM »
"You and your DH have your work cut out for you.... "
 
You are very correct Kitty, we do have our work cut out for us.  Ultimately, all anyone wants is what is in the best interest of the children.  From all the posts I have read on this site, this is true, no matter how upset the parties are with each other. 
 
Since I have the "dreaded" title of "stepmom", or even worse "second" wife, it makes things harder.  I always say the children are not children of my body, but they are children of my heart.  I love them as they are my own.  My husband spoke to his children even before he asked me to marry him, to make sure they were ok with it.  He waited and made sure he had their blessing before he proposed.  They are his first priority, and I understand it.  We thought long and hard about this move.  I wish the job market was better in PA, but it isn't, and it doesn't look like it is going to get any better.  The cost of living here is high, compared to Texas.
 
In response to your mention of the PFA, the PFA order was AFTER  the custody order.  In general, a PFA is usually used for domestic issues between a boyfriend/girlfriend or husband and wife.  The reason we went for the PFA for the children, is because our youngest child requested his father to do something about the situation.  The judge explained that he believed what the children told him (alone in his chambers), and honestly his recommendation was for my husband to go to the custody office for a change.  The reason he did not do that is because it was not totally what the children wanted, and they were told by their BM that her boyfriend would not be moving with them to their new location.  We know the children need both their BM and my husband in their lives, on a full time basis.  We do our best to keep the peace and trust me, I bite my tongue alot around the BM for things she says and does.  Every time my husband has a new job, we receive yet another visit from CYS for some made up charge.  The social worker always finds the charge unfounded and once again my husband gets a lecture about needing to work together with his former wife.  We try, but we can not stop her from calling with false accusations.
 
I guess bottom line is all we can do is hope she will be in agreement with allowing the children to spend part of the year with us in Texas and part of the year here in PA with her.  I KNOW what ever is decided I want in writing filed with the court, so she doesn't try to stop him from spending much needed time with the children.
 
Any thoughts or suggestions anyone has would be greatly appreciated.

gemini3

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Re: Relocation- custody concerns.
« Reply #7 on: Jul 23, 2011, 11:24:34 AM »
If you were relocating for the father's job you might have a chance.  But you're relocating for your job (you're not a parent), and you already have a job (discretionary relocation).   

If you want a change in custody because of abuse, etc., you should file for that if you think you have enough.  If not, there's no way a court is going to grant it.  A better education is subjective, and will never take precendence over involvement with a biological parent.   

If you move you'll be giving up the 50/50 arrangement, you will end up with less time, and you will end up having to pay transportation for the children to exercise their visitation with dad.

Davy

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Re: Relocation- custody concerns.
« Reply #8 on: Jul 23, 2011, 02:20:03 PM »
Just IMHO I agree with others concerning educational opportunities as it relates to the judical process but at the same time I took the issue from you as a "point of practical parenting".

As an intact family we went through all the considerations (in the short and long term) as you and  many familys do in any relocation while keeping the children as the primary focus especially our parental responsility to provide for them financially as wll as other quality of life issues. Of course at the time we did not have to deal with the approval of a court.  A huge motivator was  my wife's drunken, pill-popping  mother constant dysfunctional interference in our family.

You might want to CONSIDER the following as you proceed in this matter.

Historically, many courts approve/condone a relocation to maintain the quality of a child's life.  The father may also want to seek employment in the new location, any employment, even if it is outside of any other expertise.   

Thinking outside the box (probably way outside) it MAY BE helpful/advantagous if the father could earnestly (hint hint) have a heart - heart with the mother to also consider relocating with the need for the children to have both parents nearby.  BTW, if there already exist a negative experience with the boyfriend then do not be surprised if matters worsen with an absent father.  Yike !

What you are considering is not unusual ... ya'll will be in good company.  In the 1990 census, it was reported that 75 % Plano, Tx  (Dallas metro)  residents were NOT native Texans.  Several elementary and middle schools were nationally ranked (whatever that means).

Today, in my little neighborhood just a little north of Plano we have clubs for Ill-and-noise, Ohio, NY, Nebraska, to name a few.  I think you may find Collin County Tx is still one of the fastest growing counties.

I also do not what the acronym PFA or the importance of such but if the children have met with a judge in chambers that recomemded a change then one would think the father would have a leg up in the judicial system.

Whatever you do continue to stress the importance of the children maintaining a relationship with both parents.  Your posts have been refreshing as you reflect on all concerned.  Best to ya'll !!!

Kitty C.

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Re: Relocation- custody concerns.
« Reply #9 on: Jul 23, 2011, 03:06:59 PM »
'In response to your mention of the PFA, the PFA order was AFTER  the custody order.  In general, a PFA is usually used for domestic issues between a boyfriend/girlfriend or husband and wife.  The reason we went for the PFA for the children, is because our youngest child requested his father to do something about the situation.  The judge explained that he believed what the children told him (alone in his chambers), and honestly his recommendation was for my husband to go to the custody office for a change.  The reason he did not do that is because it was not totally what the children wanted, and they were told by their BM that her boyfriend would not be moving with them to their new location.  We know the children need both their BM and my husband in their lives, on a full time basis.'
 
Thanks for the clarification, but because of that, I also see criminal implications.  I cannot, for the life of me, understand why the judge did not automatically grant physical custody to your DH when he issued the PFA.  Either that, or order the BM to ditch the BF immediately or lose custody.  It may not be what your DH wanted, but we're talking the safety of the children which (IMO) comes first.
 
And this is what scares me:  because your DH did not ask for a change of custody then, basically what he's telling the court is that the PFA doesn't make any difference to him.  And if something were to happen that ends up getting law enforcement and CPS involved, he could just as easily be accused of allowing it to happen, because he KNEW (having filed the PFA in the first place) but failed to protect the kids.  An accessory, in other words.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......

Davy

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Re: Relocation- custody concerns.
« Reply #10 on: Jul 23, 2011, 05:19:59 PM »
Kitty ... I adamantly disagree with your line of reasoning that the father is "an assessory" to and in agreement to whatever.
 
It very much sounds like the gutless court is very much an assessory to whatever may continue to happen  since the court has the authority and responsibility to protect children and DID NOT.
 
The father has no such authority and if the father becomes to aggressive then the system 1) may find fault with him and 2) the aggressor may take it out on the children as long as the mother is allowed to keep the children.

redbabyblue70

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Re: Relocation- custody concerns.
« Reply #11 on: Jul 23, 2011, 07:37:49 PM »
Davy, thank you so much for your input,  we both really appreciate it.   PFA stand for protection from abuse.  I totally agree with your last comment to Kitty.  The whole reason my husband filed the PFA to begin with is to protect his children from the man his former life continues to subject them to.  If he becomes too agreessive, he will not be looked upon favorly by the courts.  They still believe the best place for the children is with the BM
 
Kitty,  I so wish the court had done what you stated, to pull the children from the BM and placed physical custody with us, until her BF was no longer in the picture.  Unfortunately, that did not happen.  Yes, the children's safety is ALWAYS number one priority, and in the eyes of the court, granting the PFA was protecting them against this man.  Do I agree with it, uh NO WAY.  If my husband had gone then and filed for full custody, his three children would of hated him for it.  They still love their mother, no matter what poor taste she has in men and wanted the 50/50 arrangement to continue.  How could my husband not honor their desires?  We made sure his oldest understood if they were touched AT ALL by this man, she was to call 911 immediately, and then her father (she has a cell phone). 
 
Davy, my husband is already looking for a job in the Dallas, TX area, while I am going through the interview process.  There seem to be a lot more opportunites then the part of PA we are in, and unlike this area, 4 year degrees do not seem to be mandatory in order to obtain the job.
 
Again, thank you both for sharing your thoughts/opinions.  They mean a lot and are helpful as we start out on this new adventure.  I will definitely continue to stress to all it is most important for the children to have both parents in their lives.

Kitty C.

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Re: Relocation- custody concerns.
« Reply #12 on: Jul 23, 2011, 10:20:23 PM »
Quote the OP:
 
'...and honestly his (judge) recommendation was for my husband to go to the custody office for a change.  The reason he did not do that is because it was not totally what the children wanted, and they were told by their BM that her boyfriend would not be moving with them to their new location.'
 
The judge himself told the father that he should go for custody, but the father didn't.......because he believed the BM when she said the BF wouldn't be moving with them?  The judge already said he SHOULD, but he didn't even AFTER the BF still moved with the BM.  So where is the court implicated?  JMO, but since they told him he SHOULD file for custody and didn't, he just better pray that nothing does happen......in the weird and wacky world of family court, they may point a finger not only at BM (for keeping the BF around when she was told not to) but also to the father (for being told by the judge that he SHOULD file for custody and didn't).  That's my point.
 
 
'If my husband had gone then and filed for full custody, his three children would of hated him for it.  They still love their mother, no matter what poor taste she has in men and wanted the 50/50 arrangement to continue.  How could my husband not honor their desires?' 
I in NO way implied that your DH should yank the kids completely away from their mother...in fact, I adamantly disagree with that.  She would still be part of their lives, in as much as she and your DH could come to an agreement on the logistical part of it.  The father filing for custody was to limit contact between the kids and the BF, NOT the mother.  And even if the kids would be upset by that, as parents we often have to make decisions regarding our children that they will not be happy about...but that is why we're the parents, to keep them safe.  It's no different than telling DS and SS that they cannot hang out with certain kids or do certain things...they may be PO'd, but it doesn't matter...it's for their own safety and that should ALWAYS come first, especially over what they want.
 
 
As for the moving situation, I strongly recommend reviewing the original for language regarding move-aways and, if there is none, then either reading up on the state laws regarding it or consulting an atty. about it.  Heaven forbid your DH does get a job in TX, everyone moves there, then get forced back to the original state because it was illegal.  Absolutely find out if he can even take the kids (because even if it's possible, some modification of custody MUST be in place before the move) before he even accepts a job there.  Don't get the cart before the horse or the court is liable to yank it right out from underneath you.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......

redbabyblue70

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Re: Relocation- custody concerns.
« Reply #13 on: Jul 24, 2011, 01:11:24 PM »
"As for the moving situation, I strongly recommend reviewing the original for language regarding move-aways and, if there is none, then either reading up on the state laws regarding it or consulting an atty. about it.  Heaven forbid your DH does get a job in TX, everyone moves there, then get forced back to the original state because it was illegal.  Absolutely find out if he can even take the kids (because even if it's possible, some modification of custody MUST be in place before the move) before he even accepts a job there.  Don't get the cart before the horse or the court is liable to yank it right out from underneath you. "
 
 
 
This is the kind of information that I have been looking for by posting our situation.  I reviewed the current custody order and it only states that each parent is obligated to inform the court and the other parent when they move.  It does not state that they are not allowed to move out of the area.  Therefore, we will research our state laws, to see if there are any other restrictions.  My husband believes he still has a small retainer with his lawyer that did the work for his divorce and custody- so I want him to reach out to him as well.
 
 
 
"The judge himself told the father that he should go for custody, but the father didn't.......because he believed the BM when she said the BF wouldn't be moving with them?  The judge already said he SHOULD, but he didn't even AFTER the BF still moved with the BM.  So where is the court implicated?  JMO, but since they told him he SHOULD file for custody and didn't, he just better pray that nothing does happen......in the weird and wacky world of family court, they may point a finger not only at BM (for keeping the BF around when she was told not to) but also to the father (for being told by the judge that he SHOULD file for custody and didn't).  That's my point."
 
 
 
If they were my children, I would of gone and filed for sole custody.  But unfortunately, they are not, so the final call was not mine to make, it was his.  If I recall the judge's exact words, he said to BM (since all four of us were in the PFA hearing)- there is nothing stopping your former husband from taking the PFA and going to the custody office for a change in the order. Deep down, I feel my husband still fears the system.  He had to battle his brother along with his former wife in order to have the current custody order (it is a LONG story...a lot of drama and heart break)- and if you would like to hear the whole thing, I will gladly share in a private email.  I am a child of divorce as well, and I have seen it happen in the state of PA anyway, a lot.  The court sides with the mother of the children- not the father.  You have to prove the mother unfit in order to have full custody if you are the father.  Again, that is not what we are trying to do.  It is in the best interest of the children to have BOTH parents in their lives.  Ideally, we are hoping they will be with us during the school year, and BM on holidays and summer vacation.  BM is not equipped to help them with their schoolwork- that job falls on my husband and I. 
 
 

 

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