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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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  #1  
Old 02-05-2012, 12:59 PM
GTownDad GTownDad is offline
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Default Mobility Question

I've been separated from my ex for 3 years. We have 2 kids ages 7 and 8. I stayed in the same city as her to ensure the kids could have easy access to me as they grow and to ensure I can stay a part of their lives. I get them every other weekend, 1 weeknight sleepover weekly plus a week of vacation in the winter and a week of vacation in the summer.

My ex started dating someone new 5 months ago. She told me this week that she wants to move an hour away to be with this person. He has 2 small kids (ages 2 and 5) from a previous relationship and is currently living with his mother. The plan is to uproot my kids from the home they've grown up in and to buy a house with this guy. She hasn't gone to find work since the separation and the new guy she's dating is a high school teacher. The rationale for her to move to him is that she is more portable.

My separation agreement states that she will live in the same city and give me 3 months written notice should she want to move.

I'm very concerned that the move will impact the stability of the children and make the ongoing development of the children's relationship with me more difficult. For one thing I would not be able to maintain weekly contact with them as I couldn't get them to school when they're an hour away. That means I lose about 48-52 days a year with them.

My concerns are:
1. This is a new relationship. I appreciate she is trying to move forward but am concerned the kids will be uprooted for a relationship that is too new to really know if it could last.
2. As the kids get older I could envision them becoming less thrilled to abandon all their friends to come stay with me. Being in the same city allows them to have a more seamless relationship between their two homes and allows them easier access to me and vice versa.

My question:
Is there really anything I can reasonably do to stop the move or change the access to the kids? Could I for example become the primary care give so the kids have continuity with their school, friends, activities etc. I so far have had a very good relationship with my ex. If I stop this move that is clearly gone which I worry will affect the kids. Is there any guidance about how far is too far in terms of how far she can move?
  #2  
Old 02-05-2012, 01:11 PM
standing on the sidelines standing on the sidelines is offline
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so all your agreement said was that she had to give you three months notice?? You should have put in there that she had to stay in the same school district but that is too late now.

No matter what happens the kids will be affected, either by you having them and not seeing mom as much or the other way around. I would offer that to her though, you keep the kids and she is the ncp but sweeeten it up with more time for her like maybe half the summer with her and things like that. You have to show that you are willing to be very flexible with this so if you go to court it works in your favour more.

Put the idea in an email and sent it to her and see if she is willing to talk about it. Moving kids after only a 5 month relationship is way too soon.
  #3  
Old 02-05-2012, 01:13 PM
billiechic billiechic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTownDad View Post
My question:
Is there really anything I can reasonably do to stop the move or change the access to the kids? Could I for example become the primary care give so the kids have continuity with their school, friends, activities etc. I so far have had a very good relationship with my ex. If I stop this move that is clearly gone which I worry will affect the kids. Is there any guidance about how far is too far in terms of how far she can move?
Yes, absolutely!

First, you need to send her a letter in writing, stating all your concerns here. Offer to take the children into your home, but be very clear, that while you have no opinion on her move, that you do not consent to the childrens move. This is your first step. Ask for a response in writing.

If she still continues her plans, then you need to file a motion to stop the move. I'm not sure exactly what has to be done, but I know this is na issue that comes up on this board quite often. Do a search on mobility and see if the steps are outlined somewhere else.

It is nice that she has moved on, and the new bf has kids too, but she needs to remember and respect HER kids relationship with their father. Perhaps she would be willing to move half way between the current town and the town her bf is in?
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Old 02-05-2012, 01:31 PM
GTownDad GTownDad is offline
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Thanks for the quick replies!! In my agreement it also states "Any future change in school would be made with the best interests of the children in mind and be discussed and agreed to jointly". The agreement doesn't specify distance or a radius. It just states that I get 3 months notice and if we can't agree we invoke the issue resolution clause which is to re-engage lawyers.

I already proposed that she move halfway between the two cities and she didn't accept that. I also already proposed that I take the kids 50/50 to give her more time to develop her relationship with her new bf...also shot down.

It sounds like the best thing to do is see if my lawyer can give me some advice on Monday and help me draft a letter to her. So far, everything has been verbal and really only over a few days. I agree things need to get into something written.

I guess what I'm looking for is a sense of if my concerns are valid (I sure think they are!) and what experience people have with success in these situations. Most of the other examples I've found about mobility issues deal with extreme moves like across the country versus an hour in this case. Do the courts care if the distance isn't extreme? Do they take into consideration the stability of the child's environment or just the ability to have access to them?
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Old 02-05-2012, 01:34 PM
standing on the sidelines standing on the sidelines is offline
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stability for the kids is important. Where she is moving to is it just him or does she have family there also? If it doesnt work is she going to uproot the kids again and move back?
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Old 02-05-2012, 01:39 PM
GTownDad GTownDad is offline
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She has no family there, no connections, frieds or ties in the new city other than her new bf. Right now she's in the early infatuation stages of a new relationship. She can't see risk. One concern I have is that her only family is her parents who live in another province. If this doesn't work out and I don't fight this I'm concerned her next move would be more like 6+ hours away versus back to the city I'm in. Even if I lose, I almost want to set precident that I'm opposed to having the kids taken further from their father.
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Old 02-05-2012, 01:43 PM
billiechic billiechic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTownDad View Post

I guess what I'm looking for is a sense of if my concerns are valid (I sure think they are!) and what experience people have with success in these situations. Most of the other examples I've found about mobility issues deal with extreme moves like across the country versus an hour in this case. Do the courts care if the distance isn't extreme? Do they take into consideration the stability of the child's environment or just the ability to have access to them?
YES they are vaild! yes the courts do "care" about a 1 hour drive. But they care most about how the parents plan on keeping the kids lives stable, if they can work towards that, or if one parent is not willing to make changes in order to facilitate the children's relationship with the other.

Approach this as a negotiation, and offer alternatives, ask for make up time etc and propose your solutions that consider the kids first. You are on the right track.
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Old 02-05-2012, 04:25 PM
HammerDad HammerDad is offline
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You state you do not agree with her decision to move as you don't believe the move is in the children's best interests. It is best that they stay where they are familiar, with family and friends in their current school. She will have to argue why the move 1 hour away is in the kids best interests and how she will continue to facilitate your parenting time.

Here are few things to take into consideration for you:

1. will this move affect your parenting time? Most likely, as you will lose the mid-week over-night that you've enjoyed until now. I mean, there isn't much chance you will be able to take 2 hours out of your morning to drive the kids to the other city for school and get back to your job. So if she does try and move, how is she going to compensate you for your lost over-night? Maybe 1/2 or all of summer in exchange? You can't just lose time with nothing in return. Be sure if worst comes to worst and she does move, you get compensated for any lost parenting time (with an equal amount or more).

2. Who will be responsible for driving? You shouldn't be adversely affected by her decision to move. So she should be responsible for the costs and time of driving. You should be willing to drive a distance at least equal to what you do now to a more convenient meeting place, but to go all the way there? No way.

But yeah, you are going to have to negotiate this. Offer to switch roles so she can be with Mr. Wonderful. Take extra time with the kids mid-week to encourage her going over. Then document all the extra time you've had for as long as possible.

Don't agree to anything unless you are compensated in kind.
  #9  
Old 02-05-2012, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTownDad View Post
I've been separated from my ex for 3 years. We have 2 kids ages 7 and 8. I stayed in the same city as her to ensure the kids could have easy access to me as they grow and to ensure I can stay a part of their lives. I get them every other weekend, 1 weeknight sleepover weekly plus a week of vacation in the winter and a week of vacation in the summer.

My ex started dating someone new 5 months ago. She told me this week that she wants to move an hour away to be with this person. He has 2 small kids (ages 2 and 5) from a previous relationship and is currently living with his mother. The plan is to uproot my kids from the home they've grown up in and to buy a house with this guy. She hasn't gone to find work since the separation and the new guy she's dating is a high school teacher. The rationale for her to move to him is that she is more portable.

My separation agreement states that she will live in the same city and give me 3 months written notice should she want to move.

I'm very concerned that the move will impact the stability of the children and make the ongoing development of the children's relationship with me more difficult. For one thing I would not be able to maintain weekly contact with them as I couldn't get them to school when they're an hour away. That means I lose about 48-52 days a year with them.

My concerns are:
1. This is a new relationship. I appreciate she is trying to move forward but am concerned the kids will be uprooted for a relationship that is too new to really know if it could last.
2. As the kids get older I could envision them becoming less thrilled to abandon all their friends to come stay with me. Being in the same city allows them to have a more seamless relationship between their two homes and allows them easier access to me and vice versa.

My question:
Is there really anything I can reasonably do to stop the move or change the access to the kids? Could I for example become the primary care give so the kids have continuity with their school, friends, activities etc. I so far have had a very good relationship with my ex. If I stop this move that is clearly gone which I worry will affect the kids. Is there any guidance about how far is too far in terms of how far she can move?
This is a change in circumstance and allows you to motion for 50-50 full joint custody. Time to stop being an EOW parent and do what is best for your children. Fight to be an equal parent.

So, I would identify that with the change of circumstance you are going for 50-50 full joint custody. No reason you can't if the other parent is going to bring forward a change in circumstance. DOn't fight over a night... or a few hours. Fight over what your children need... BOTH PARENTS EQUALLY INVOLVED IN THEIR LIVES.

Good Luck!
Tayken
  #10  
Old 02-05-2012, 08:22 PM
billiechic billiechic is offline
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that is a good idea, but probably not the best way to start the conversation with his ex. That is NOT going to do anything but force this into court. Better to try to work WITH her before fighting AGAINST her.
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