What to do if my ex and I have joint custody and 50/50 placement but he is now moving over 200 miles away?

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What to do if my ex and I have joint custody and 50/50 placement but he is now moving over 200 miles away?

He has just told us he is moving to another city in the same state (in 3 weeks weeks) with no real reason. He will be leaving our daughter here where she is in school, but wants to bring her to his house every other weekend and for the entire summer. He thinks we should share transportation responsibilities. I feel that if he is leaving, without consulting us, he should bear the consequences (ie transportation, and loss of time with our daughter). I of course agree to take over his weeknight placements but think it’s terrible to make our 6 year old be in a car 7-8 hours every other weekend and give up an entire summer because of his choice.

Asked on December 4, 2012 under Family Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It sounds like he wants to completely restruction the custody and visitation schedule.  However, just because the schedule would be convenient for him, does not necessarily make it in the best interest of your child.

If you have a custody/visitation order in place, that order will still control until it is modified by the court.  So as far as what to do, your starting point is to read that order.  Many orders have one visitation schedule for parents who live close to each other and another visitation schedule for parents who live father away from each other.  If he is moving that far away, the provisions in your custody orders for long-distance visitations will control the schedule.  Many orders also contain a provision that the "absent and agreement by the parties" the visitation schedule will control.  If you don't agree with his proposal, and the orders do not meet the needs of your child, then you can always petition the court to change the order.  You can request that he assume the travel expenses associated with visitation.  You can also request a visitation schedule that is less exhausting on the child.  Eight hours on the road every weekend certainly seems to impose a financial and physical hardship on the child.

The bottom line is that you do want to try to work with your ex-, but you are not required to automatically agree with his plan.  Review your orders.  If the provisions within those orders do not resolve your issues, file a motion to modify the visitation and custody arrangements to what fits the needs of your child, not your ex.


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