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did you go to court over relocation out of state?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have posted a thread in single parenting. I am curious about your stories of success or failure with asking the court's permission to move out of state and how moving and long distance visitation work for your family.

It's here:


Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 10
My 13 yr old step son's mom moved him out of state a few years back, and while our situation is quite different than yours (I read the post you linked to), I will share our experience.

In fairness to you, I will start out by being upfront about my bias. I don't generally believe that a parent should move out of state. I believe that whatever issues lie between the adults should not be put upon the children and, in general, chidlren should not be denied regular access to either parent, unelss there is abuse/neglect. You mentioned abuse in your other post, but I'm unclear about if the children were abuse or if that was an issue between the adults. Basically, I'm aware I don't know enough about your situation to stand on my soapbox and tell you what you should do. Like I said, I'll just share my experiences.

When my DSS was about 8 yrs old, my DH's ex petitioned to move out of state. We were (are) in Northern CA and she wanted to move to Northern WA state. My DH was very active and involved in his son's life - consistent visitation (he was with us 35% of the time), consistent payment of CS + health insurance and half of childcare costs + misc items such as clothes, shoes, etc., as needed. His son also has special needs (medical and educational), all of which my DH was consistently involved in facilitating.

She presented a case claiming she could not find work in our area, however in their conversations, she told my DH she wanted a "fresh start" and that she didn't feel she could get that living in the same city as him. My DH showed listing after listing of jobs available in our area, and told the court about her "fresh start" conversations. The judge put the burden of proof on my DH to prove to the court that "the child will be negatively effected by not seeing his fatehr on a regular basis" With all the talk of deadbeat dads and fathter's who are barely involved in their children's lives, I found this appalling. The insinuation was that my DH was unimportant to his son life, except for financailly. Despite his involvement and positive influence on his son's life, and despite his efforts to show there was work to be had in our area, the court granted her permission to move out of state. The whole court proceeding took about 2 months and included phychological evaluations, as well as conferences with teachers, school adminstrators and DSS's doctors.

Based on this experience, I would have to agree with your attorney. I don't think you will have any problem getting permission to move. The courts tend to lean in favor of the custodial parent, even when the non-cusdotial parents is as involved as my DH was. Sounds like your dc's fathers are not nearly so involved as my DH was, so I don't forsee them being a roadblock to you moving.

So anyway, after my DH's ex moved away, it was very difficult for all of us, including her. The judge ordered monthly visitiation, which included airfare and she had to pay for half of it. She was furious about this, but did it anyway. Becuase of DSS's special needs, he was unable to fly alone, so either my DH would fly up there to visit (incurring hotel and meal costs, as well) or one of them would fly with him, incurring extra airfare costs. It cost both she and my DH a lot of money each month.

She would also sometimes call my DH and complain that their son was too much for her to handle by herself. He took the move VERY hard and was rebelling against his mother A LOT. He was clearly upset with her for moving him away from his dad and he would tell her so, directly and indirectly. He went through a period of months where he would barely speak to her - he would only growl at her. He became increasingly defiant and while he did well academically (better than he was doing in CA, but we chalk that up to WA schools being superior to CA schools), his behavior in school was quite volatile. Lots of acting out, disrupting class, and difficulty making friends.

After two years in WA, she suddenly decided to move back. She claimed it "just didn't work out like she thought it would", but we know better. During her travels for visitation, she would sometimes stay in our area for the weekend while her son visited his dad and during these stays, she met a man and they were dating. Yes, we were thrilled she was returning with my DH's son, and yes, she had a hard time with the move, and I can see how it didn't work out for her in many ways, but it infuriated us that basically it took her getting a boyfriend down here, and all of a sudden, that was what motivated her to move back.

They have been back in the area for the past 2 years and DSS now lives with us (has for almost a year). She agreed to having him live with us because she couldn't handle him and was ready for "her time to live her life". Mom sees him 15% visitation (every other weekend, Fri & Sat night, returning Sun afternoon) and that's it. She pays a rediculously low amount of CS (12% of what my DH paid to her) and never buys him anything extra, except for South Park or Beavis & Butthead t-shirts (which he is NOT allowed to wear to school). He comes home from her house on Sun afternoon and his homework folder hasn't even been looked at. (Thanks for the help with making sure he's taken care of! : ) She has now married the boyfriend and they are pretty much doing their own thing.

The most positive thing that's come out of this situation is that she is SUPER cooperative with us now (used to be very combative about every little thing) because she is scared to death of going back to court. In CA, you see the same judge every time you go to court, so if they end up in court again, she will have to face the same judge and explain why she is not only back in CA, but married and her son lives with us (she painted a nasty picture of my DH in the move away proceedings - lots of lies just so she could get what she wanted). Oh, and she's still working in the same filed that she claimed she couldn't find work for here. The judge will not be pleased with her and she knows it.

Sorry to write such a book, but that's our story. It didn't work out well for her or for us, and it was very, very hard on my DSS.

If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer and talk with you more about this. Good luck in making your decision. I know it's not easy.
post #3 of 10
We haven't done it, but we have consulted our lawyer about moving. Dh has custody, with biomom having visitation, 10 nights per month. She said in California, we could probably not move dss. If we go, he stays unless biomom agrees.
It is very expensive here.

But, the mom did move away for 2 years (dss was with us) and it was soooo hard on dss, even though at that time he was 4 and hardly saw her at all. When he would visit her, it was terrible for him, for her, he had a lot of anger at her, he was crying at school, etc. I was not thrilled for me when she moved back here, but was thrilled for dss who is much happier with her here.

When she moved away, we each had to pay 1/2 of travel expenses, not based on income. They said it was everyone's responsiblitly to ensure child had access, regardless of who moved.
post #4 of 10
I moved, but only 150 miles. My ex is law enforcement and was making my life hell. He absolutely did not want me to move, again, power and control. The Judge gave me permission to move and get on with my life, ordered my ex to do all transportation, and basically told him that he was forcing me out of the area.

If I move farther, I have to go back and prove that our lives would be enhanced by the move. However, since the divorce, he has only spent 29 days a year with the kids. Far less than the 35% he gets credit for with child support. :
post #5 of 10
It seems like a lot of it has to do with the judges in your area. Our lawyer was advising us based on the way she has seen judges around here rule. And it wasn't looking good for us. . .
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your responses and stories. It is helpful to get a sense of what others have gone through.

This stuff is painful no doubt. I don't take moving lightly and would never consider moving if I didn't feel very confident that the children would be better off...financially and otherwise.

The thing with the jobs described by MamaMeg... In some ways it sounds like your dh's ex wasn't looking hard enough, but my experience is really that there is not work showing up for me in my field. With a Master's degree in a specific feild and student loans to start paying back...I don't want to have to settle for something that isn't going to have made my education worth it and pay for it. There are certainly jobs I could do, but I'm very overqualified for them or they don't pay well enough. The jobs I need are seriously elsewhere.

It's all complicated, too, for everyone, I know. Thanks again ladies for sharing your experiences! I'll try to keep you posted on what happens here.
post #7 of 10
We moved about 5 hours away, from Indiana to Illinois. We didn't have to go to court, but we did have to get all the legal paperwork done through lawyers. My ex ok'd the move as long as he still got visitation every other weekend.....which he does. Because I'm the one that wanted to move, I am responsible for getting her down there for visits. The driving is a pain, but we deal with it for now.....

Getting ex to pay child support.....now that's another story!!!
post #8 of 10

I didn't have to go to court

I just moved 2900 miles away, from San Francisco to Florida with my 3.5 yo son. I got my ex to sign a piece of paper saying I was allowed to move out of state with my son for a period of 1 year and then got it notorized. He only saw our son for about 4% custody anyway, but was very sad when we moved. For me, it was essential for me to get a fresh start. Since our relationship is somewhat amicable (our divorce was through a legal assistant, not lawyers), we chose to go this route and not even involve the courts. I count my lucky stars I was able to do this because I know most people are not able to.

post #9 of 10
I will let you know how it goes, My husband has applied for a job in Norcal, and I have been accepted into an educational program in the same area. If all goes well, we will move in a month.

I am not pressing my luck with my ex, I am going straight through the legal channels. As long as I can prove it is improving our lives, then we will be aproved for the move.

Hmmm, let's see? Mom finishing her nursing degree, stepdad making more than 4 bucks more an hour. Moving to an area I have family, family who is state certed in childcare. Cost of living is very close to what we have here, and we can get a great home for less than 400K, unlikely here.
post #10 of 10
I may also have a similar need to move out of state in the coming months. My DH is an Army reservist who is considering a move to active duty after he finishes officer candidate school. If he does go active, we will likely be forced to move out of state. I've heard that military service is usually a slam dunk in the eyes of the court because the family has no choice but to move and to have the serviceperson in one area and the family in another could possibly be a financial and emotional hardship. Has anyone moved out of state because of military service and been through the process in the courts? I'd like a head's up on what I will be experiencing.

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