Child visitation


#1

I have just recently relocated from Raleigh to Charlotte. My ex and I still have not finalized our separation agreement and have been separated for over a year and a half. Not because either is unwilling to sign, but because her lawyer keeps draggin her *&^& and one month its let me see this pay stub, two months later its "well its better to go off of W-2’s. Prior to my moving we had agreed, verbally, to $500 a month. At the time I was making just over 10-12K more then her. And the child support calculators match that number ($4.00 less, schedule B). My support has doubled with the move as well.

We had agreed to split custody. In my eyes, what she calls split and when I actually get to see them, it is truly not split, but for the sake of the kids I dont argue. With my move to Charlotte, now comes into play each driving to exchange the children. I have asked her to meet me less then half way (Asheboro) but now instead of every other weekend, she is saying maybe every third weekend, and it cost her $100 to fill up her car (drives an explorer). And she threatens if I want to see the kids then she could make me drive 2.5 hours to pick them up and 2.5 hours to drop them off (5 ++ hours round trip each time). She is saying by me moving I have no right to split custody as we agreed to and that she wants more money for gas.

So two questions. Can one parent do that to the other parent, ask for more money and refuse or not be willing to meet half way? I never relinquished any of my rights to my boys, yet by my moving she says I have? She says she has no money, but one of the reasons she wont drive half way every other weekend is in case she wants to drive to the beach instead.

Thank you.


#2

Yes they can. It’s happening to us right now. We’re going to court for custody simply because she’s mad that she’ll have to take on more of the child care, yet she doesn’t want us to get custody where we bear the child care burden (because she depends upon the money and doesn’t want to look to her friends like a failed mother)…so she’s refusing to meet halfway for exchanges, trying to restrict us down to alternating Xmases, one day every other week (and we have to stay in her city during visitation), and 2 2 week visitation periods in the summer. This after having a finalized divorce for 3 years and 50/50 custody of the kids.

Sadly, you may have to file for custody in court if she won’t agree to separation agreement terms.

You’ve not relinquished rights to visitation with your sons, however, you are now negotiating separation from a weaker position by having moved. There seems to be some sort of presumption (as voiced by our mediator) that if a parent moves away from their children, it is because they have less of a desire to see their kids. Custody cases tend to favor the mother as opposed to the father (although legally there is supposed to be equal rights to custody). If she can prove that she makes less than you do, if you take her to court, she can have you pay her legal fees.


#3

Your move in no way relinquished any of your rights as a father, however, since you do not have a signed agreement, she c an ask for more in support, and more time with the children at any time she wishes. Your move has changed the dynamic of the family and the practicality of visitation. No matter which parent drives, the children are now faced with spending a good part of their weekend in the car.
I cannot say for sure what a judge would do in any one case, but in my experience, it is not uncommon for the judge to place the burden of transportation on the party who relocated.