Wife and Husband have been separated for 2 years, splitting custody of 3 year old child 50/50. Divorce is imminent and custody is biggest issue. Wife wants child more than 50% of the time. Husband understands that less back and forth may be better for child at this point in time. If Husband agrees to 156 overnights per year (versus the 182 he now has), and Husband pays the child support for those additional overnights given to the Wife, what impact will this have on potential modification of custody agreement in the future? Husband does not want to agree to less time with the child if that will better Wife’s case for primary custody in the future. The concern is that this arrangement would go on for a year or so, then Wife would attempt to move out of state, and seek primary custody based on the fact that the child has spent more time in her care. On the balance, Husband and Wife are both good, fit parents, both employed, and both have good homes for the child.
To modify a custody order the party seeking to modify must demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances affecting the child. If either husband or wife wanted to modify later a case would have to be made showing a change would be in the child’s best interests, moving out of state would be very difficult to do since the parents have been sharing custody all along and plan to continue