My wife initiated legal separation a year ago in NC because she was having an affair, and we are divorcing within a few weeks. We have two children (12 and under). Their grandparents on both sides, as well as most of our family, are in CA. I wish for us relocate back to CA to be closer to family for the sake of the kids. She doesn’t see any value in doing this, and wants to stay in NC, resisting any effort to find employment on the west coast. What are my rights? Is this something that can be worked out in mediation or is this likely going on to divorce court? Am I being unreasonable to think that grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins are important for them to be in close proximity to? And is there any chance that she will be required to move across the country if she wants to keep shared custody in place? Thank you.
I think you should post this on the legal forum to get the response you are looking for. You are right to think that a family network is important to a child’s development but since their home is in NC and custody is in NC, you may have a difficult time trying to force all parties involved to move to CA. Depending on how long you have lived in NC. Though family is important, you also have to look at the fact that you would be taking the children out of the environment they are used to, their home, school and friends. Divorce is a difficult time, especially for children. Relocating during a separation and divorce would certainly change the custody issue but in this example, I don’t believe that the courts would force your stbx to move or allow you to retain shared custody if you did relocate. If you have shared custody currently by agreement or court order, then you would have to relocate and become a resident in CA to change the jurisdiction.
I know that this is not what you want to hear and I am sympathetic to your plight…but in this scenario, it almost would have been better to take the children to CA immediately upon separation so that custody would have had to be filed by her in order for you to be forced to bring them back to NC. Waiting a year with the current situation working, and the divorce on the horizon, would make it difficult to get the courts to agree disrupting the children’s routine is what’s best for them.