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Contest Relocation

Started by prayingstepmom, Jul 16, 2015, 10:07:35 AM

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My step-daughter's mother moved from Birmingham (where we live) to Houston earlier this year to be closer to her boyfriend, leaving my step-daughter and her half-sister in the care of grandparents in Birmingham. We didn't know the mother had moved, were just told she was travelling for work when we did pick up and drop off on our weekends. We just received the notification that she intends to move my step-daughter to Houston next month. They moved alot since she was married to someone in the military, but now that she is divorced, we know this move is not military-related. We are preparing our Contest to the Relocation, but was wondering if anyone has any tips.  I'm not sure how much back story to give, but my husband and the mother were never married, and she has sole custody while we only have visitation (long story about the birth certificate).


Need more details.

  • Is he the father of record?  Has paternity been established?
  • How old is the child?
  • What does the court order say about move-aways?
  • How were you notified of her intention to move?
The wonderful thing about tiggers is I'm the only one!


If child is school age you can get a lawyer to file a restraining order to have child remain in current school district until court hearing on move.

Many states/judges are refusing move-a-ways when the other parent has been exercising their parenting plan. Your reason to stop her from going is : father has been involved in his daughter's life and the move will dramatically affect their current relationship and parenting time, child can remain in same school with friends and family close by, father will encourage visits to mother's family (if they are near) while in his custody.

You can also play hard ball and have your lawyer postpone hearing and let school start for the year here and have child start school....then harder to make a judge pull her out. Do you live in same school district? Or request judge allow child to start school by you? Do you have a court date set already? When does school start by you  verse TX?

Has mom gave you alternative parenting plan?


He was established as the father and put on the birth certificate when she was about 2.  She is 11.5 now.  We both live in the Birmingham area, but in different school districts. We have a Relocation Notification in our court order that requires she give us notice within 45 days and that we file a motion to contest if we object within 30 days of receiving the notice (which we are about to do). She sent a letter FedEx signature required with the letter saying my step-daughter was moving (wording is key there because it's not "we" are moving... mom moved earlier this year) and school schedule for the middle school in Houston.  The letter said "the standard out-of-state visitation schedule, as previously used, is proposed."

My step-daughter has lived out of state most of her life, moving a lot when her mom's then husband was in the military. She has been back in Birmingham for two years since her mom got divorced, which is when we started getting first and third weekends in addition to the holidays we were already getting.  We have never missed a child support payment or a single hour of visitation her whole life.


Here is an exerpt from the motion we have prepared about her not sending any clear visitation proposal.  She's moved so many times (as far away as Hawaii), so we've had numerous out-of-state visitation plans (the visitation plan when she was in Florida vs Hawaii was different).

8.   That the Defendant provided no clear proposal of a revised schedule of visitation with the minor child, only indicating "The standard out-of-state visitation schedule, as previously used, is the proposed visitation schedule."
   a. That since the Defendant has relocated the minor child out-of-state numerous times; it is unclear which schedule of visitation she is proposing.
   b. That the Plaintiff intends to exercise visitation in accordance with the current court order established by this Honorable Court on September 9, 2013 until another court order is established.


Here is what we added about her relationships here, since she would be in a different school district if we got primary residence.  We have filed for at least joint-custody a few times and always been denied, so I think we will only shoot for primary residence.

6.   That the minor child has established foundational relationships during formative years in her youth in Birmingham, Alabama and does not deserve for those to be taken away by the flippant desires of the Defendant.

   a. That the minor child has established relationships within the church and community surrounding the Plaintiff's residence.
   b. That the minor child has become involved in Motion Student Ministry and has begun serving in Preschool Ministry at Church of the Highlands.
   c. That the Plaintiff commits to maintain residence in the Birmingham, Alabama area until the minor child reaches the age of majority in order to preserve these relationships.

Here is another exerpt saying that she could come live with us.

7.   That the Plaintiff is more than willing to assume temporary primary residence for the minor child if this Honorable Court were to prevent the relocation.

   a. That the Plaintiff will support this Honorable Court granting the Defendant standard out-of-state visitation.
   b. Also, that the Plaintiff will support this Honorable Court granting additional visitation to the Defendant when she travels to the Birmingham area monthly, as she has been doing since moving her primary residence to Houston, Texas in early 2015.
   c. That granting primary residence of the minor child to the Plaintiff would constitute the same amount of visitation between the minor child and the Defendant as it currently being exercised.

Any feedback or suggestions would be more than welcome.  We have never had a lawyer, so we file everything ourselves. We honestly know more than some of the lawyers we've met with over the last 10 years.  I just discovered this forum and thought I'd throw this question out there.

Thanks so much!


I am a little confused ...lol
I would be focusing on something like this:
"Father does not agree to the move as daughter has established residency for the last 2 school years and had regular visitation with him. Father requests a change to be have physical custody during the school year and mother will have physical custody in summer and school breaks. Daughter has ties to her church and school and has been in xx districts since Kindergarten. Father would like her to have educational stability as she nears middle school/high school years. Mother has already moved to TX and has allowed daughter to live with grandmother for the past xx weeks. Father requests a hearing in this matter before the start of school , so daughter can be in her new school for the start of the year as mother has not given the 45 day notice as court ordered."

If you put any stuff in there about what visits you want if she goes to TX, showing that you are okay with it. Have that all written out and ready to negotiate in court but not sure if you should put that in the papers. You want to stop the move. If judge allows move, then ask for detailed plan but dont give that info too early as her lawyer will say, look....they want this for you to move, do it and be done.  My opinion....lol


I see what you are saying... We added that stuff about her (the Defendant) getting standard out of state visitation if my step-daughter comes to live with us, but that might be confusing.

Should I change everywhere that says "primary residence" to say "physical custody"? I get confused about that because mom has sole custody.

We received the notice on July 7th and she says my SD will move "approximately two weeks before school starts, which is August 24th." 45 days before August 10th is like June 25.


Any idea how much we can say about her moving to be closer to her boyfriend? Her notification letter said she was moving for a better job and better schools, but we know her boyfriend moved to Houston in January and just found out she moved there shortly after.


Sorry, I have another question...

Mom's relocation letter said she was moving because of better schools in Houston (and listed a bunch of credentials like Vanguard/ Magnet, STEM, etc). Should we address that schools with those credentials exist here in Birmingham? She would have to change school districts to live with us anyway.

Also it said she was moving for "increased financial stability" with a higher paying job in Houston. Here is what I have in that section.  Let me know what you think.

5.   That the Defendant lacks any substantiation in her reasoning for moving the minor child to Houston, Texas away from her substantial family network including her father, step-mother, brother and sister, maternal grandparents, paternal grandparents, maternal extended family and paternal extended family.

      a.   That the Defendant received reasonable income while employed in Birmingham, Alabama.
               i.   That in addition to work-related income, the Defendant is also receiving child support for two children from two different fathers.
              ii.   That the Defendant incurred limited monthly expenses for the minor child while residing with her parents in Birmingham, Alabama.
      b.   That since the Defendant did not submit proof of income at the last Child Support hearing, this Honorable Court cannot determine if this relocation constitutes an improvement in "financial security", as was stated in the notification to the Plaintiff.
               i.   That the Defendant's "opportunities for growth" cannot be substantiated as they have not been realized and cannot be guaranteed.
       c.   That exceptional schools exist right here in the Birmingham, Alabama area.
               i.   That the minor child is succeeding in her current school.
              ii.   That if the Defendant wanted the minor child to be enrolled in a magnet school, one exists less than 20 miles from the Plaintiff's current residence.
             iii.   That a STEM-recognized school also exists 21 miles from the Plaintiff's current residence.
             iv.   That a gifted and talented student program exists in the Shelby County School District, where the Plaintiff resides.

You are awesome!