mom wants to move, take kids to Ohio

            Posted on October 16, 2016 
 

Mom want to move, take kids to Ohio

Q.   I’m a divorced mother of two children, now 9 and 12. Five years post-divorce, I’m about to marry my fiancé, Larry. He grew up, lives, and has his own business in Ohio. My children met and like Larry.

My ex-husband, Bill, has parenting time on alternate weekends, plus one night in the other weeks. Bill rarely takes the children mid-week and misses most weekends.

My parents, brother and his wife, live in Ohio with their children. I want to move the children to live with me in Ohio and continue being their primary caretaker.

Bill won’t agree to the removal. He now seeks their primary custody claiming our kids will lose contact with his parents, and several first cousins. He also claims that Larry is a danger to the children. Bill called the Division of Children and Families who did not screen-in the complaint. And suddenly Bill’s taking advantage of all his parenting time.

What do you think my chances are for getting the O.K. to remove the children to Ohio?

A.   There is well-established law on requests for relocation of children.

First, the court should not enter a temporary order permitting the move. That means you will have to try and then win your case before the children can be moved to Ohio. Since you’re not now living with Larry, Bill has to prove to the judge that Larry is a danger to the children.

Second, if, like you, the requesting-parent has primary custody of the children, there is a presumption that remarriage is a real advantage. But because you didn’t share the details of Bill’s complaint, be warned not to think that issue went away when DCF didn’t screen-in that claim.

On hearing about that claim a judge might appoint a Guardian ad litem to investigate and file a report. If so, try to assure an experienced Ph.D. psychologist is appointed. Simply, there is a vast difference between the long-term training required to earn a Ph.D. than the field work required to earn a master’s in social work.

Third, Bill’s attempt to become the children’s primary caretaker will not be considered until after the judge decides your request for removal.

Often these cases are settled – sooner or later - by offering to: a) reduce dad’s child support on the theory he can use that saved money to have parenting time in Ohio; and b) let dad have the children for half the summer and alternating school vacations.

However, since most people don’t change, don’t expect Bill to show up in Ohio more than once or twice. Do expect his mother to be caring for the kids each summer. Just hope she does a better job with your children than she did raising Bill.