Q: My kid’s dad pays child support. We have no custody agreement through the courts though. His name is not on her birth certificate. What should I do if I need to move to be closer to my family or to move for better work opportunities? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: There is a statute on relocation that needs to be followed. Notice must be provided. If you just pack up and leave with the child, the father can file an emergency motion and obtain a contempt order. I would consult with a child custody attorney before planning such move.
Q: I have a basic custody agreement with my ex-husband. I have primary physical custody, and he gets our daughter every other weekend. We always meet in a neutral place for drop off and pick up. I recently got engaged and am moving in with my fiancée and his children. The relocation puts us closer to my ex, so it does not interfere with the current visitation schedule. I sent him an email and formal letter, giving him the information outlined in the agreement necessary for relocation: 30-day notice, address, phone number. He emailed back stating that I need to make arrangements for him to come and see the new home where she will be living. He is extremely disparaging towards me and barrages me with text messages that are downright mean. I do not want him in my new home, whatsoever. Neither does my fiancée, due to his behavior. Do I have to let him visit? My ex seems to think that I do. Nowhere in the custody order does it state that this is a stipulation. Please advise. (Baldwin Twp., PA)
A: I know of no such rule and inspecting each other’s home is not in your agreement. It is a tough question given his interest in ensuring the new home is suitable for the child balanced against your concerns of his controlling behavior. If you don’t want to let him in, don’t do it. The risk is that he may withhold custody, which may cause you legal fees, but which is a battle you should ultimately win. Is there a middle ground? Does he have a normal person in the family, like a sister, who can inspect your new home and report back to him?
Q: I plan to relocate 35 miles away from my current residence in about a year to move in with my fiancé and his children. I have 3 children from a previous marriage. We never had a custody order. For the last three years my children have been with me full time with my ex seeing the kids every other weekend. He has taken them extra days but not many. He pays child support. He also lives in the same school district as me, however, he never asks for more time, calls the kids, and is not actively involved in any of their school or sports activities. He has gotten word that I am making plans to move within the next year and is threatening to ruin those plans by possibly filing for 50% custody. I believe this is solely to have his child support payments reduced. I just need to know what my options are. Thanks!
A: It likely involves a new school district and since he seems opposed to it, you may want to get ahead of it by serving him and filing the necessary paper work for a relocation hearing which should be a Notice of Intention to Relocate with a Counter Affidavit for him to sign or not sign.