Can I move with my son

My wife and I were married 8 years ago in Jacksonville, Florida. Our seven year old son was born 2 years later in Tampa. We moved to Charlotte in 2007. In February 2009 my wife abandoned me and my son to move 50 miles away to Statesville with her new boyfriend. She is uneducated and works part time for Big Lots in Statesville. I have a degree in network engineering and work as a Desktop Support/Help Desk technician, but that industry has been hard hit here in Charlotte so I’ve been bouncing from six month contract to six month contract since June of 2008 when E*Trade laid us all off (they relocated me here from the Tampa office.)

Neither of us can afford a divorce. We have a verbal agreement concerning custody. Our son lives with me in our family home, and she gets him every other weekend. I have been getting a lot of job offers from out of state. I’m currently under consideration for the making homes affordable plan because of the instability of the IT market here in Charlotte. I feel I could better provide for him and give him a more stable life if I were to take one of these out of state positions, and wanted to know what my legal rights were, since she abandoned him over a year ago, has never paid one cent in support, moved 50 miles away to another county, and no legal custody has been determined.

You can take him out of state if she agrees to the move. If she does I suggest you have a parenting agreement drawn up which outlines her consent to the move and names you as primary custodian. This agreement needs to be signed by both of you and both of your signatures must be notarized.

Otherwise, if you move with him she may file an action for emergency custody to have him returned to NC, you would then have to respond to her action and sue for custody in order for a judge to determine whether or not the move is in your son’s best interests.

From someone who has recently been through this, be careful. Right now, you don’t have a custody Order in place and no visitation schedule (Order), so you are able to move with your son without violating any orders. You know your ex. If you think she might respond to your notice of intent to move with a Motion for Custody/Visitation, you may not want to notify her of the move, until you are about to do it.

Once you have moved, it is harder for the Court to order you to return to NC with the child, but it is still a possibility. Make certain you have all your ducks in a row if you decide to move without her consent. Get your son in school, daycare, find a pediatrician, etc. Get him settled immediately after your move. Start developing ties to your new home. When you do notify her of your move, be ready with a new plan for visitation and be prepared to maybe bear the burden of transportation or the expense of transportation. In my case, it was split evenly, thankfully. We meet half-way for the exchanges.

If you think she will agree, then it would be best to get her consent in writing. When you get to your new home and establish residency, you should really file for divorce and custody.