Are you divorced? Or maybe you have never been married to your kids’ other parent and thus never prepared legal forms for divorce? Do you share custody? Or maybe you are simply granted visitation rights? When your former love announces her plans to move somewhere with your children, things get hard for you.
If you had an easy breakup, then you probably didn’t have a chance to take any precautions in time mainly because you were preparing and filing for divorce without a lawyer. And now you start wondering how you can make your ex-partner change his or her mind or how often you will see your little ones after they move away.
Fathers are more likely to find themselves in such a situation after they file their divorce applications form. There is evidence indicating that 75% of mothers move away with the kids within the next 4 years after a divorce. There may be different reasons standing behind their decision: their desire to be closer to their families, change of employment, moving in with their new flames, remarriage, etc.
Your ex probably has a good reason to move away, too. However, whatever it is, the fact is that your case is one of the hardest ones in family law mainly because the stakes are too high. You could go without legal support when you were using a do-it-yourself divorce kit, but now everything is different. Contacting an experienced lawyer who specializes in this law area is the best you can do right away. Otherwise, you have all chances to lose any opportunity to see your kids regularly.
What Options You Have
You have a few options, and which one you should turn to will depend on how well you get along with your kids’ other parent.
Talk It Over
First of all, you can contact your ex and ask him or her for a cup of coffee so that you two can discuss the aroused problem peacefully. If you and your former love are on good terms, try to explain to him or her how much seeing your kids regularly means to you. Don’t neglect to mention that your children need both parents and that their decision to move away will make it hard, if not impossible, for you to maintain a close relationship with them.
Work with a Mediator
However, if you two don’t feel like talking to each other, then suggest working with a mediator or counselor who can help you start communicating productively. If there is tension between you two, then don’t push too hard. Otherwise, your strong assertiveness may make your ex oppose your wishes or even make a hasty decision that will serve neither your interests nor your children’s ones.
Keep an Open Mind
Hear out another party and try to understand why your ex wants to move. If it is possible, offer some alternatives, but make sure that you remain open-minded. Don’t forget about the effect their move may have on your children, not just you two. Tell your ex about what you think. Sometimes, it may be a strong argument, especially if your kids go to school. It is usually hard for all children to leave their friends and normal routine. If your case goes to court, then it is more likely that your ex will not be allowed to move away if the kids themselves make clear that they are not willing to leave their home and thus want to stay.
But Be Realistic, Too
When it comes to move-away cases, most often, the court is not kind to non-custodial parties. In most states, a right to relocate is highly protected and thus parents’ desire to move away is usually considered as a fact of life in the country. Therefore, if your kids’ other parent has primary physical custody, then you have little chance to make him or her change their plans.
If you get a lawyer, the latter can help you either fight this decision or get the court to offer an alternative allowing you to see your kids as often as possible, but don’t set your expectations too high. Don’t expect that a judge will force your former love to put his or her plans on hold simply because you want to see your kids regularly.
Given the said, sometimes following another parent wherever he or she goes does make sense. This is how you can be close to your little ones no matter what the court decides. There is no need to stalk your ex; you can simply rent an apartment somewhere close to your kids’ new home so that you can exercise your visitation rights whenever you want to. While far not all parents can follow their kids, there are those who are happy to do so, especially if they are not linked to their place of work. If you are not sure that the court will prevent your ex from moving away, don’t worry – there is always a plan B.