Joint custody, moving across town, and schools...

Does anyone here do joint custody from across town? How does the distance affect things? I’m thinking about making that move, and I’m not sure how it will affect things.

Here’s my situation (yeah, it’s long, ignore if you want.)

My ex and I have lived a few blocks from one another since we broke up. Being this close has worked well: handoff night is easy; the kids can go from house to house when they feel like it, and our houses map to the same schools.

In the meantime, the neighborhood has gentrified. I’m in a small, worn out rental. I would like to own a house but I can’t afford what’s available here, so I’m looking at houses a few miles away. My ex hasn’t shown an interest in moving, but I could see her moving away in the opposite direction. In the meantime, we have two sons, one entering a magnet school and the other is at a good but overcrowded school. Both of these moves would be to outside the area that feeds the high school.

So, I’m conflicted. I’d like to live in a nice house, one that will have room for a decent study space. On the other hand, I’d like for my older son to graduate with the friends he has known since elementary school, and I want my younger son to get a good start on middle school. Magnet school will be a challenge, and I don’t want him to miss assignments because the books are at the other house, and the like…

My ex and I live on different sides of town. Granted its only 7 miles or so, so we don’t have a problem. He lives in the school district I like so I list the kids’ address as his even though they live with me most of the time. I would say as long as the two of you can agree on transportation arrangements, it shouldn’t be a problem. I know my kids appreciated not having to change schools when we moved.

It may be possible for your son to stay at his current school even if you move: different schools have different policies. If he’s a good kid, they will likely want to keep him if they can.

Moving schools is really difficult on kids, and I think it’s something to be avoided if you can. That said, if you make the decision to move and have him still go to the school he’s at, you need to recognize what that means. I had a family come through my classroom (two kids, 4 years apart) where the parents had transferred the kids across town to our school because it had better academics. However, they hated giving the kids rides for anything extracurricular: they could drop them off on the way to work and pick them up after, but things like going to a friends house after school or a football game or a club meeting were rare treats grudgingly granted. It really affected those kids’ quality of life because they were always on the fringes of everything–they didn’t form any sort of lasting connection to anyone, and they were very aware of it.

I wouldn’t worry as much about the kid in the magnet program: kids will be coming there from all over the city, presumably, and so it won’t really matter. And he can learn to keep up with his books.

Moving schools is hard on kids, but you know what, they’re kids. Millions and millions of kids move schools each year and they do just fine. Why should your children be any different? Unless there is some huge reason why they shouldn’t be moved, you’re the adult.

I moved schools when I was young because bussing and integration. No I didn’t like it. Because of integration I moved to four schools in the span of 2 years. It’s not as easy as staying put, but it’s not like it emotionally crippled me. In fact I’m better off as I learned to deal with all the minorities. Many people from my age group never dealt with black people till they went away to college.

Divorced parents often feel way too much guilt as it is. It’s your children’s responsibilty to bring materials to class. If they don’t then the teacher will see to it that they, in the future learn how to bring them.

You’re the adult, your kids lifes revolve around YOU and your ex. Not the other way around.

I moved to another town when I got divorced. Since my town had a crappy school, I let them stay in the school in their father’s town even though we had 50-50 custody. I drove them in when I had them.

Then he moved to an even better school district. I drove them there for years too, but moved there myself a couple of years ago. I got tired of all the driving but it was best for them.