My Ex is Moving With the Kids, What Can I Do?

These days, it’s not unusual for a divorced parent to relocate to another town or state following a divorce. If your ex-spouse is moving away and plans on taking your kids with them, is there anything you can do about it? The issue of post-divorce relocation can be a contentious one, and conflicts can easily arise. You may fear the idea of having a long-distance relationships with your children or have concerns about how they will cope in a new school. These worries can place added stress on an already strained relationships with your ex.

My Ex is Moving With The Kids

Child custody laws vary between states. If your ex-spouse is planning a move, it’s a good idea to consult an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will be able to help you make sense of the rules and regulations, so you can fully understand your options. One important thing to remember is that your custody agreement is already in place and can only be changed through a court order. Your ex-spouse taking your child to another state will not alter the agreement.

What Steps to Take

Before the move takes place, you and your ex-spouse need to get the custody agreement changed. If you’re still on speaking terms, it’s best to sit down with them and try to form a parenting plan you can both agree on. You may need to enlist the help of a therapist or mediator to facilitate the conversation. Try to understand why your ex-spouse wants to move. Have they gotten a new job? Are they getting remarried? Do they want to be closer to family? Express how important you think it is for your kids to have regular contact with both parents. It’s important to keep an open mind during these discussions in order to see if you can agree to a parenting plan without relying on the decision of a judge.

In many cases, there are too many conflicts over the issue, and ex-spouses can’t come to an agreement on their own. At this point, you may decide to seek full physical custody of your children or try to block the move. A judge will then have to decide what is in the best interest of the child. Their decision will be based on the state laws as well as the unique details of the case. For example, a case in which an ex-spouse is moving 45 minutes away is very different from one in which they’re moving across the country.

The judge will take a number of other factors into account, including:

  • The current custody agreement
  • The financial impact of the move
  • The child’s emotional and physical well-being
  • The child’s education
  • The child’s relationship with both parents

Additionally, the age and preferences of the children may play some role in the decision. The preferences of a teenager who has been going to the same school for years and has a well-established social life will have more weight than the preferences of a young child.

In many instances, a judge will decide in favor of the custodial parent unless the non-custodial parent presents compelling evidence showing that the child’s well-being would be negatively impacted by the move. One way a child might be negatively impacted is if the custodial parent is moving solely to prevent their ex from seeing the child.

Once a decision is made, a new custody agreement will be created. Ideally, both parents should consult an attorney to help them deal with a relocation. The legal issues involved can be complex, and an attorney can help you protect your rights as a parent.

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