Sending kids out of state during custodial time?


I’m divorced; got court order that indicates ex-spouse and I shared legal custody of children; I have primary physical custody of children during school months (end of Aug - beginning of June) and three weeks of my choice during the summer months. Ex-spouse has physical custody of children during the summer months (excluding three weeks). Last summer, I chose 1st week of July, 5th week of July and 3rd week of August as my time with the children. So he picks them up once school ends, but instead of spending this time with his children, he drives them 12+ hours out of state and (literally) drops them off at his parents’ home on Saturday. He doesn’t spend the night, but turns right around and drives back to NC for work Monday. To have them back for my first week of custodial time, he goes back to get them and brings them back to NC. He continues this routine throughout the summer, only spending the last 2-3 days of his custodial time with his kids at his parents’ house in August. The kids hate it, especially the drive back and forth all summer.Then he brings back receipts from his mother, charging $150/week for childcare (and no, she is not a state-approved childcare provider). According to the court order, I’m responsible for 52% of childcare, so he’s attempting to have me pay for that. AND…he plans to do this again this summer.

QUESTION #1: Would this scenario qualify as having physical custody of the children?
QUESTION #2: Would taking the children 12+ hours to his parents’ qualify as childcare?

  1. File a motion to modify custody.

  2. Unless he can prove he actually pays his mom the court probably wouldn’t buy this, and even then I bet they would not see it in a good light.