I received an email from a distressed grandmother this morning. Her son's ex-wife had remarried and relocated with her grandchildren. Needless to say there have been a few years of trying to keep up a relationship with the grandchildren and many legal issues for her son to deal with.
I've not responded to this grandmother but when I do my first question to her will be, what does your son's final divorce decree say about relocation with the children after divorce?
It isn't uncommon for a custodial parent to want to move away once a divorce is final or once they meet someone new. It isn't common for this issue to be dealt with at the time child custody is decided and due to that some non-custodial parents find themselves separated from their children by thousands of miles with little legal recourse.
From the perspective of a non-custodial parent this can be devastating to their relationship with their children. What should you do to make sure your ex won't be able to move away, with your children post-divorce?
1. Make sure that this issue is addressed in the child custody portion of your final divorce decree. If, at a later date your ex should wish to relocate any prior agreement you have to not do so will work in your favor in court.
2. Keep a strong relationship with your children. Proving that you spend regular, quality time with your children will keep you ex from being able to prove in court that a move would not be detrimental to the children and their relationship with you.
3. Don't behave in a way that gives your ex the ammunition needed to prove in court that relocation with the children would substantially improve the custodial parent's and child's quality of life.