For a while now, we’ve had 1/2 custody of the children. This was agreed upon in the separation agreement and then again in a court order. Unfortunately, we must move out of state, although not very far.

The father has proposed a schedule that will allow him to see the children 1/3 of the year, including most of the summer vacation. He is willing to pay for the transportation and make the effort as he wants to stay very involved with his children’s lives. The mother, although she tentatively agreed to it at first, now is demanding that either the father exercises 1/2 time visitation (knowing that he can’t), or that he has virtually no custody except for alternating holidays. She is refusing to negotiate any further. (Basically it’s boiling down to money. She found out that if she holds him to under a certain amount of days, she will greatly increase the amount of child support she receives from him.)

I’m assuming that this will need to go to court. What kinds of things will the court look at when determining a custody order in the best interests of the children? How will it look to the courts that the mother has been unwilling to grant the father visitation for most of the summer despite the fact that she gets them nearly all the school year? How likely is it that the father would be able to get visitation for the entire summer and every holiday?

Typically the court finds that it is in the children’s best interests to keep in close contact with both parents. The historty of shared custody will be a factor that plays in your favor as well. I cannot predict the likelyhood of the court awarding any particular schedule, but the father’s desire to be with his children as much as possible while not interfereing with their schooling is also favorable to his case.

Thanks so much, Erin.

If we seek full custody, we’d be willing to grant the mom the full summer and any other time she’d want with the kids that didn’t interrupt their schooling. It is unfortunate that she is unwilling to reciprocate.