View Full Version : Help me craft a rule for my post-divorce parenting agreement

07-07-2008, 05:04 PM
In this thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=474114), Nyctea Scandiaca describes a situation where her boyfriend, father of three, has moved to Virginia and left his children with his Ex wife. It's a complicated story but simply presented, it's a situation where distance from his children is making it nearly impossible to have any sort of practical relationship.

My ex and I are redoing our current "Parenting Plan" at her request. There's very little change from what is currently filed with the courts but we're doing it anyway (long story).

The language in the proposed amended plan forbids a person to move out of state without approval of the other parent. Thinking about this, it's occurred to me that "out of state" is too broad. Heck, just moving to the other side of Denver would be impractically far.

Right now, my ex and I switch custody of the children on a week-on/week-off basis. On Mondays we switch, using the day-care provider as the middle ground. It's worked out pretty good so far, from a logistics point of view. This morning I dropped the kids off, she'll pick them up.

Nyctea's boyfriend's situation has made me fear changes, though. Right now, it's forbidden to change the kids' residence outside Colorado without the other parent's approval:
Non-Removal of Children from State of Colorado: Neither party shall remove the minor children from the State of Colorado, with the intent of permanently changing their residence without the express written consent of the other party or Order of Court..great as far as it goes but Colorado is a big place. Right now she could move the children to Colorado Springs without my consent. That's sufficiently far as to be out of state. Even moving the children to a southern suburb of Denver would be too far.

For example, during the summer months, the suburb of Parker (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=parker,+colorado&ie=UTF8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&safe=active&ll=39.546412,-104.745026&spn=0.474412,0.948944&z=10&iwloc=addr) might not be too far. During school months, however, it'd be impractical to drive the kids an hour south to the their school, then turn and drive 90 minutes back to the north edge to work, then reverse it all at the end of the day. The children shouldn't have to spend hours in the car, losing access to homework time, family time, & activity time because their mother finds out it's cheaper to live in the 'burbs (just hypothetical, mirroring Nyctea's described situation).

On the other hand, I can't put strong limits on what kind of job my ex can have or where she can live, either.

I need some language that will let us switch between jobs as needed but still protect the children from having to spend hours in the car every day.

Any suggestions?

Right now, I have an idea that we should add something like this:

Neither party may establish a permanent residence that is more than 30 minute's drive from the any minor child's school.


A parent who moves 50 miles from Denver (measuring from the Denver Courthouse) shall allow the renegotiation of the child custody agreement with the remaining parent having first right of refusal for primary custodianship of the children.

The goal here is to keep one parent from moving from Denver and taking the children from the other. Obviously, since I"m posting this, I think it's more likely she'd move from Denver and try to take the children with her.

Suggestions, ideas?

Before I send anything off to her lawyer, I will run it past mine. I'm just looking for suggested language or other ideas.

Mr. Excellent
07-07-2008, 05:17 PM
I'm not yet a lawyer, and so I'm reluctant to offer an opinion on professional ethics here - but this seems way, way too much like you're asking for legal advice. It'd be pretty unethical for anyone here to do that, I think. No one here knows the details of your case, and I'd be willing to bet we don't even have anyone admitted to the Colorado bar. Your own attorney, who's admitted to practice in Colorado, is expert in the details of your case, and knows the local divorce and child-custody laws, can provide you with far, far better advice than anyone on this board could.

You've done a good job of summarizing your concerns - it might be a good idea for you to edit your OP a bit, send it to your lawyer, and say "this is what I'm worried about - what sort of language would you suggest?"

07-07-2008, 05:22 PM
My agreement simply says neither parent can remove the child from the county for more than 3 consecutive days without written consent of the other. That covers moving away as well as giving you the right to intervene if she wanted to take them on vacation to a dangerous third world country or something.

With the agreement, if I wanted to move out of the county I would have to get a move away order approved by a judge. It's not simple either, and involves me paying for court appointed professionals that would determine the best interests of the child. I was told it would cost about 6k if I wanted to do it, and it might be turned down.

I think the main point is that no matter what you put in, she could always petition to have it changed if she really wanted to move. All you can do is deter her from doing so by making it a pain in the ass.

Edit to agree with Mr. Excellent, that your lawyer will know how this is best done in your state.

Yeticus Rex
07-07-2008, 07:55 PM
I am not a lawyer, but since you have a lawyer filtering through our suggestions.....

Any parent who moves further away from child's established school forfeits the right to relocate the child to a school closer to their new home, unless the other parent agrees to a new school. The new school should be no greater than equidistant or otherwise be closer to the established (non-moving) parent.

When child moves up from Elementary to Junior High and on towards High School, the next level of schooling will remain in the same school district, unless both parents agree on a different school district. A request to move a child to a new school can only be requested in/on <insert desirable time frame here> and must be agreed to by both parents.

07-07-2008, 08:18 PM

Yes, Belrix, this is a little close to asking for pure legal advice.

Good luck to getting this worked out.

For now, this is closed.