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salinah20
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Opinions needed
      #252453 - 06/21/07 01:59 PM

I currently live in Maryland, and I want to move to Florida. Not only can I not afford to live here anymore (after rent on the shabby little place I'm in and daycare each month I'm only left with $100 to pay utilities, food, car ins, car payment, etc.), but all my family is in Florida (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, etc). The school systems are great down there, my company will allow me to transfer, and the kids have been begging me for over a year to "move closer to Grandma and Grampi so we can see them more". Living down there would give my children so many more opportunities that living here, I simply can not afford.

In February I had the CO modified from joint everything to full physical and joint legal. He appeared in court for all those hearings, but never filed a single piece of paper he was required to (yes, he ended up getting sanctions on him, but it was prevented from being a default case because he actually appeared in court).

Between Feb of 05 and July of 06 he only saw the kids 12 times. He hasn't visited or even called the kids since July of 06 - not on birthdays, or Christmas, or anything. He only pays a small portion of the CS he owes me each month, and that was only after the CS Enforcement office found out where he worked. (He quit his job right after the court decision in February) I don't even have his home phone number - judge asked him for it in court, and I since discovered the phone number he gave was a bogus number. Needless to say - he's not involved in their lives at all.

Our CO says nothing about moving away except that I need to notify the court within 10 days of moving or changing jobs. From what I have found, Maryland has a 45-day notice policy for moves out of state.

So - now that I've babbled way too much...

Does anyone know exactly what needs to go in that notice? I mean obviously the address I'm moving to, but do I need to put in there that he has X amount of days to protest, or spell out the reasons why I want to move, or anything like that? Do I need to suggest alternate visitation schedules when he doesn't even use the one he has now?

In your opinion, if he does decide to fight this - do you think I have grounds for a move? Do you think he has a defense at all?

Thanks for reading all this babble. I just want to make sure I do everything correctly so that the move doesn't end up causing problems for me and the kids.


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PhoenixRising
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: salinah20]
      #252576 - 06/21/07 08:32 PM

You have joint legal therefore you are required to include your ex in the decision-making process concerning relocation..

What did he have to say on the subject?

What does your CO say as far as what is required when you both cannot jointly agree?

Unless you have addressed relocation in your CO, a move out of the area “may” be considered a change in circumstances. To keep a parent from relocating with the children, the other parent files a petition with the court to modify custody, visitation and child support. The court holds a hearing and each side presents evidence of environmental, educational, social and cultural opportunities and conditions in both places. The judge then decides whether it is in the best interest of the children to stay in Maryland or not.

Courts weigh heavily the presentation of a visitation plan that will maintain the bond between the non-moving parent and the child.

Courts believe that stability for children, that is, maintaining the status quo, is usually the best thing for children, especially children of divorce, so the burden is a heavy one


Relocation law draws it’s basis from Domingues, 323 Md. at 501
Its reasoning regarding the best way, to determine the best interests of the child when proposed relocation is involved, is based on the fundamental concept, also evident in the Jaramillo constitutional analysis, that there are no “absolutes” other than the best interests of the child. See Domingues, 323 Md. at 501; Jaramillo, 823 P.2d at 309 n.10

(“The respective interests of the parents are relevant . . . and should be considered by the court; but the interests of the child take precedence over any conflicting interest of either parent.”).

The Court of Appeals explained how the competing interests of the parents might be viewed differently, depending on the circumstances presented: The view that a court takes toward relocation may reflect an underlying philosophy of whether the interest of the child is best served by the certainty and stability of a primary caretaker, or by
ensuring significant day-to-day contact with both parents.

Certainly, the relationship that exists between the parents and the child before relocation is of critical importance.

If one parent has become the primary caretaker, and the other parent has become an occasional or infrequent visitor, evidencing little interest in day-to-day contact with the child, the adverse effects of a move by the custodial parent will be diminished. On the other hand, where both parents are interested, and are actively involved with the life of the child on a continuing basis, a move of any substantial distance may upset a very desirable environment, and may not be in the best interest of the child.
Id. at 501-02.

We conclude that the approach taken by the Court of Appeals in Domingues sufficiently protects the constitutional right to travel because it requires consideration of that right, and gives the parent choosing to exercise that right an equal footing as the other parent with respect to the burden to show the best interests of the children.

Accordingly, we see no reason, based on Saenz,
supra, or the right to travel, as recognized in other Supreme Court decisions, to modify the standards for considering relocation cases from that set forth in Domingues.

--------------------
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. --Plato


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salinah20
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: PhoenixRising]
      #252592 - 06/21/07 09:03 PM

I have no idea what he says on the subject - I have no communication with him. I have no phone numbers to call, have no idea where he works, and even though it's obvious he's at home, he won't answer the door when I knock. As for what the CO says about not agreeing - it has no provisions in it for what to do if we don't agree on something. (I've had several people tell me that it should have something, but it doesn't)

If I read what you wrote correctly, are you saying that if I notify him of the move, he has to petition the court to block me from moving? Or, because of the joint legal, does he just have to tell me no and that blocks it? (The joint legal is just a legal term to him - he hasn't helped with a decision in over 3 years even on the rare occasions I do get in contact with him and ask for his input on things)

I'd seen the information that the courts do not want to break the bond with the NCP, but in this case there is no bond. The kids stopped even asking him about 6 months ago and only bring him up in connection to getting their bikes back (He's got them locked up and won't give them back despite a judge telling him to give them back - I've given up on it, but the kids haven't).

I'd be happy to put some wording in the letter suggesting a visitation arrangement, knowing full well that he won't exercise any of it (He doesn't exercise it now when he lives about a mile away, I can't imagine he'd do it if it's over 1000 miles away), if that would make the case better. Do the courts make the decision based on the notification letter, or would that just make my case stronger should he decide to fight it?

Basically, I'm trying to figure out if I can go the "45 day notification" route, and if he doesn't answer the letter in an official manner, if that allows me to legally move them out of state. And if I can't go that route, what exactly I need to file with the courts to be allowed to move.


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PhoenixRising
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: salinah20]
      #252619 - 06/21/07 09:56 PM

I was hesitating giving an specific opinion BECAUSE in Maryland there are divergent views from judge to judge and from county to county..

You need to file your 45-day notice..
You can get the form here:
http://www.courts.state.md.us/

You need to send him a copy of the form, certified mail, return receipt requested..

Attach a COPY of the return receipt w/ the form you file w/ court... IF he will not sign for the letter, you should go to the expense of having him served...

While your state courts do not always agree to how to interpret Domingues… They ALL look poorly on moving without notice.. Without proof that you notified him, you jeopardize your case.

After the court gets your intention to relocate… The court has options.. If you complete the form and the court likes your answers AND feel that your move does not result in a major change of circumstances AND your ex does not file for modification of custody due to a major change of circumstances…

Well, most probably (and I say this HESITANTLY) you will be allowed to relocate..

The above site that I listed has selected appeal cases on line.. The Court of Appeals has upheld the right of the CP to move w/ child in many cases…

BUT in a minority of the cases.. the CP moved, the NCP objected.. And the court reversed custody to the non-moving parent..

SO I do NOT want you to think this is a slam-dunk.. Your state has judges that have a strong bias for “maintaining the status quo” and at the same time, you have other judges that feel that it is the constitutional right of the moving parent to move w/ their child…

It made really interesting reading but not really helpful..

Anyway, the reasons moving was denied was MOST often because it would have a deleterious effect on the relationship of the non-moving parent and child…

SO you definitely want to have your documentation all-in-a-row as far as his non-appearances and sporadic relationship..

You also want to show that you support his relationship w/ his child, that you are willing to pay the expense of her coming back to visit him and that you have a visitation plan that will insure the continuation of the father-child bond…

Lastly, if your ex files for a modification of custody… You MUST MUST hire a lawyer. The law supports you for the most part.. BUT you need a lawyer to argue a favorable interpretation of the law to the judge.. Do NOT gamble w/ your child’s future.. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the money… Beg, borrow, or steal it.. But do NOT go down this road unprepared.. You have a lot to lose….

--------------------
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. --Plato


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salinah20
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: PhoenixRising]
      #252662 - 06/22/07 05:15 AM

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! That was the information I needed - the "how-to" part.

If he fought it, I knew I'd need a lawyer, but I didn't want to spend all that money just to find he didn't fight it at all.


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Relayer
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: salinah20]
      #252812 - 06/22/07 02:06 PM

Who cares where YOUR relatives are. 1/2 your kids relatives are where you are now.

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GO CUBBIES!!!!


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salinah20
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: Relayer]
      #252817 - 06/22/07 02:10 PM

Actually not - their father lives here but doesn't acknowledge their existence. Other than that, they have one aunt here in Maryland. No other relatives in this area at all.

Their paternal grandfather lives in Florida as well. So I'd not only be moving closer to MY parents, but his as well.


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Relayer
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: salinah20]
      #252855 - 06/22/07 04:16 PM

ya, but away from him..sorry..why dont you just go yourself and leave the kids with him (and dont give the BS he doesnt want them). Then YOU can be long distance..

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salinah20
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: Relayer]
      #252871 - 06/22/07 06:01 PM

He hasn't visited them in over a year, he doesn't call them on their birthdays or Christmas or any other day of the year. He stole their bikes and refuses to give them back to the children even after a judge told him to.

He gives false phone numbers in court, and we have no way of contacting him in an emergency. He actually told the judge that I could have the ambulance stop at his house on the way to the hospital to inform him of the emergency.

So please, explain to me how that shows he wants them in any way. Explain to me why I should continue living off food banks, and borrowed money from my parents to feed them, keep them in clothes, get them haircuts, and keep a roof over their head when the only connection they have to Maryland is a dad that doesn't care enough about them to respond to notes taped on his door to call me regarding surgery for his daughter. How someone that sees report cards detailing his son's reading problems, reading recommendations from guidance counselors, teachers, and principals of son's school, refuses to let him be tested for Dyslexia, and I had to seek a court order to allow the testing (which it turns out he has and the reading specialist was able to improve his reading to "on grade level" now)

If he was involved in their lives in the slightest, I would have no problem continuing to scrape up whatever I could to keep them close to him. I actually voluntarily moved 1700 miles shortly after we separated, just so the kids could be near him. I've stayed here 4 years waiting for him to take any role in their lives.

My question, and point I'm sure lots of parents in my situation make, is why should we be forced to stay somewhere simply because it's geographically close to a parent who isn't involved at all, when there are so many more opportunities for the kids in another state. How is that at all in the best interest of the children...


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Redlegg
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: salinah20]
      #252951 - 06/23/07 06:57 AM

Ok, if he has so little contact, how did he manage to get a test for Dyslexia taken all the way to court and doesn't that make you think that you will at least be going to court to see if you can move. It sounds like a crappy situation, but do you think you should be taking his rights away regardless of what he thinks. I understand he sucks as a dad, but what does that have to do with the rights. Why not go through it the right way, have his rights terminated and then do what you thinnk is best.

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salinah20
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: Redlegg]
      #252965 - 06/23/07 07:55 AM

He got the test taken to court because the school system needed the signature of both parents to be able to test him. He refused to sign, and told me and the school that there was nothing "wrong with him", his reading problems were just a result of having me as a parent. He took that defense to court too...

I'm not talking about removing his rights. I'm talking about moving out of the state. He'll still have the right to visit with his children - and I'm betting he'll use it just as often as he does now.

If he has to file any kind of paperwork with the courts to fight the move, I won't have to go to court. He doesn't file paperwork, just shows up on court dates - drove my lawyer and the judge nuts.


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Relayer
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: Redlegg]
      #252970 - 06/23/07 08:22 AM

Quote:

Ok, if he has so little contact, how did he manage to get a test for Dyslexia taken all the way to court and doesn't that make you think that you will at least be going to court to see if you can move. It sounds like a crappy situation, but do you think you should be taking his rights away regardless of what he thinks. I understand he sucks as a dad, but what does that have to do with the rights. Why not go through it the right way, have his rights terminated and then do what you thinnk is best.




This is a typical case of spmeone "rationalizing" anything. Of course, Dad is an evil neglectful monster as long as painting him that way someway justfies her actions. It appears he has gone to court a number of times. Yes, a real uninvolved father.

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Redlegg
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: Relayer]
      #252981 - 06/23/07 09:57 AM

As a parent with rights I will get my son tested for whatever I think he needs to be tested for, and the school is not the only one who does the testing. But thats me.

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salinah20
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: Redlegg]
      #252997 - 06/23/07 11:48 AM

You know, I feel like I'm being attacked here, just for asking a question. I thought that's what this forum was for, maybe I was wrong...

I tried to take the testing private. They all asked why the school wasn't doing the testing, and when I told them why - they all said they would need the same thing. I finally starting lying to the testing places saying I didn't know why the school wouldn't test him - but when they called the school to talk to the teacher and get his records and information, the school told them dad didn't approve. I did try to do the testing as you suggest you would have done, and was blocked at every turn...

As for "rationalizing" things - he takes me to court for things to "make me waste my money on a lawyer" his exact words to me. I never said he was evil, or that he was a monster. I don't believe he's either of those things.

If you believe a father is "involved" simply by forcing a court case everytime something comes up, than that's fine with me. I however believe involved should mean that he at the very least actually talks to his children occasionally.

Thank you to PhoenixRising for the advice on how to proceed. Relayer and Redlegg - I wish you luck in your own custody matters, I'm done validating my actions to you.


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Redlegg
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: salinah20]
      #253231 - 06/24/07 10:09 AM

There are things you can do without his consent, and things you can't do. Moving out of state is denying him his rights, if he does not want his child to leave. You painted the picture of an uncaring dad who does not care what happens, but he seems to be fighting you on every action. Maybe he is spiting you through your child, if this is the case, maybe his rights do need to be terminated. I would get my son tested and the help he needs no matter what the cost, which you did. I am not questioning anything about you as a parent, only the fact that you say he is so uninvolved, but he seems to involve himself repeatedly. It just sounds like he lives to torment you. You don't need to validate anything to me, I figure I am a reasonable person and those were the questions and observations that came to my mind. Personally it sounds like you want to do the right thing for the kids, and he doesn't. I actually do not have any custody matters, and I hope it works out for the kids, and for you.

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Goodmom
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: Relayer]
      #256037 - 06/30/07 08:42 AM

Quote:

ya, but away from him..sorry..why dont you just go yourself and leave the kids with him (and dont give the BS he doesnt want them). Then YOU can be long distance..




Perhaps you missed the part where she clearly stated that HE WASN'T BOTHERING TO VISIT HIS CHILD?

If he was, I would agree with you. But he has shown he isn't interested in the father/child bond.


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preemiemom
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: Relayer]
      #256813 - 07/02/07 12:51 PM

Quote:

Who cares where YOUR relatives are. 1/2 your kids relatives are where you are now.




And how do you know THAT? She didn't mention anything, thus far in the thread, about where HIS relatives were and evidently if HE doesn't have a relationship with his children, it's unlikely his children have a relationship with his relatives.

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The best we can do is live our lives with enlightened improvisation.


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sadie85
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: PhoenixRising]
      #261739 - 07/13/07 09:20 PM

I haven't read all of the replies (any of them actually), but I would include as much info in it as possible. You want to state all of the POSITIVE reasons for the move. Also mention that he hasn't been around. That will help your case. Obviously if he protests, there is a chance you won't really be able to move.. so I wouldn't plan anything out too much until you have it into the court and have given the 45 day notice.

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ssmom79
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: sadie85]
      #262035 - 07/14/07 05:22 PM

"The school systems are great down there."


HA HA HA HA HA HA, ROFLMAO...

We can't even vote correctly.


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Relayer
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: ssmom79]
      #262073 - 07/14/07 06:27 PM

Quote:

"The school systems are great down there."


HA HA HA HA HA HA, ROFLMAO...

We can't even vote correctly.




I lived down there too for awhile and they aren't better than anywhere else, thats for sure.

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PhoenixRising
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: salinah20]
      #262086 - 07/14/07 07:06 PM

Did you file? Did he respond? If he doesn't file any papers (again)..

Maryland usually allows the move...

Let us know what happens...

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Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. --Plato


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ssmom79
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: Relayer]
      #262094 - 07/14/07 07:35 PM

"I lived down there too for awhile and they aren't better than anywhere else, thats for sure."

Well, that's a little comforting.


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Relayer
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Re: Opinions needed [Re: ssmom79]
      #262175 - 07/14/07 10:04 PM

Quote:

"I lived down there too for awhile and they aren't better than anywhere else, thats for sure."

Well, that's a little comforting.




No seriouly, school quality varies from county to county more than state to state wherever you live.

As an example, I live outside of Chicago (next county over) and our schools are better than the ones in the city, not as good as the ones in the county directly to the north and better than those to the west.


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