I knew that, at one point or another, I would have to move closer to my job. As it currently stands I’m driving an hour each way and it wears not only on my car but on pretty much every part of me as well. I have no problem dropping twelve hours on a shift (I’m the rare person that loves their job; there should be more of us) but when it comes to that drive home part of me just wants to rent a hotel room somewhere and sleep.
That, of course, isn’t exactly an option. I mean it is, but it’s expensive.
I went and talked to a lawyer yesterday because I’ve always had this nagging fear that moving further away would hurt my children and put the custody agreement, as we have it, at risk. Looking back it seems silly, but with the horror stories you read in the media it’s not that difficult to imagine a judge’s gavel echoing a decree that I’m no longer allowed to see my children because I’m too far away to attend soccer practices. Truthfully it would be nowhere near that dramatic, but I’ve got an active imagination and it gets the best of me sometimes.
Before I go into what I learned I have to caution anyone that comes across this post: This is not legal advice, I am not a lawyer and if you are thinking of doing something that might have repercussions you would be well advised to consult an attorney in your state that is familiar with custody laws and can review your divorce decree with you. My word, much as I want to believe otherwise, is not law.
I had a few questions that I was seeking answers to:
Will moving further away from my children affect my custody arrangement?
In short: no. In long: nooooooooooooo (I love that joke). People move all the time and in this economy you have to go where the money is. In the city I’m currently living in I’m competing against techs with years more experience than I have and in the IT field the winner is the person that’s been doing it the longest. I had been unemployed for long enough that Geek Squad was looking like my only alternative that I started to widen my search or get used to driving those ridiculous black and white VW Beetles. . The search for employment was a slow process but once my search radius included the city I’m currently working in I struck gold. Two days after I applied I was setting up a phone interview, then three in-person interviews and the rest is history.
Certain custody arrangements specify that one parent must get clearance from the other if they are moving more than 100 miles away. I was moving inside this radius (which isn’t even included in my divorce degree, I found) so that particular issue was moot. The way the lawyer put it there wouldn’t even be a reason to change custody because it’s not only in the best interest of my kids to continue to see me, but it’s best in the long term as well because I’m employed and able to pay the support that goes to my children.
What, if anything, would change?
As it stands in our agreement, s/he who’s parenting time is starting has to pick up the kids. That means when I move I’ll have to pick them up on Friday and she’ll have to come get them on Sunday night. If she has a problem with driving for two hours she can file a motion to change the agreement and tell the courts “I don’t want to have to drive that far.” My counter argument will be “I need to be here so I can work to pay support. Since she’s getting more money because I’m making more money it should be a fair trade.
Or I can ask that gas be factored in to the support agreement and I don’t think she’ll like that.
Where were a few other things that we talked about, mostly having to do with the time before the move and anything I should watch out for. All in all it was a productive meeting that settled a lot of the fears that had been rolling around in my head. Now instead of dreading the move and the imaginary court battle I’m actually looking forward to getting out of the city that I grew up in and starting over. I don’t have anything against where I live now, I just think that a change will do me good.