Parenting Agreement prior to Divorce

My STBX wife filed for custody during our separation, We are still separated and cannot file for divorce until July. Currently we have 50/50 custody of the children as it relates to legal and physical custody and we alternate weeks.This was handled in mediation and signed off by the judge. When she moved out of the marital home that we rented she moved to another county and I moved to a location in the same county with the same schools to ensure that I could be with my children 50/50. I am concerned with what she can do when this school year is over that may affect the 50/50 alternating week agreement.

When the lease is up on her current residence, could she obtain a place to live outside the current school boundaries that the children currently attend causing the 50/50 agreement to be difficult and tell me to deal with it? I did ensure in the parenting plan that we must provide 90 day notice to the other in the event of a move.

What if I would like to move where there are better schools and opportunities for my children? How is something like this handled. I am not willing to be a weekend father and would like to have my children as much as possible though do realize that the likely-hood of me getting full custody is slim to none unless she is strung out on drugs, abusive or an alcoholic. I have heard that adultery can be a means to get full custody, but do not see that as the smoking gun.

Neither parent can move residences if the parenting agreement (which is a court order) will then not be feasible because of the move. If either of you can move and still be able to follow the terms in your parenting agreement, then this is acceptable. If either of you were to move far enough away that either of you could not follow the parenting agreement, then you could risk being held in contempt of court.

The only way to relocate when it would not be possible to follow the current parenting agreement/court order is to file a motion to modify child custody and have a judge determine whether or not such a relocation would be in the best interests of the minor children (after a showing of a substantial change in circumstances affecting the wellbeing of the minor children).

Choice of schools would be addressed in the legal custody section of your parenting agreement/court order. Typically it will say that choice of schools shall be mutually agreed upon but sometimes it might say that one parent’s address will determine school districts. For mutual agreement, it would be improper for a parent to change school districts without the other parent agreeing.

Adultery will generally not affect custody awards unless the adulterous relationship has some negative impact on the minor children and/or affects the parent’s ability to parent his/her children.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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