– from Karen Z. in Kewaskum, WI
I’m not divorced yet but my husband and I are currently separated. We have 3 children together and I am strongly considering moving. I don’t want to be a jerk – but a new location is something that I think would be the best. How big of a problem is this once we decide to go through with the divorce?
Family Law Attorney Response:
Hello there. Thanks for asking this tough question. I find myself facing this question a lot and actually just recently answered a similar question on here last week. I’ll try to add a little more depth this time around.
Let me start by saying that I’m sorry that your family is facing this and I hope that once it’s sorted out that the decision that is the best for you, and most importantly your children, is made.
Typically – one parent may decide that moving is the best decision for many reasons. It could be job related, child care related, and in some cases it’s simply to get a new start. These are all understandable reasons and it may be one of these reasons is best for one of the parents.
But what I discuss with a client that is facing a similar issue as you are – you have to ask yourself if the decision to move the children across the country or across stateliness and away from their mother or father and their friends is the best for THEM?
Since you’re asking this question – it shows that you are looking to do the best thing and you hopefully won’t make rash decisions like taking them without approval. Doing something like that will not look good once you take this up in court.
Once this decision is made and you decide that you want to move – you will have the opportunity to discuss the decision with a mediator or personnel that can try and help you resolve the issue in the best way possible.
If you’re the one suggesting the move and you truly wish for your children to have a relationship with your spouse – do your best to make the move as amenable and easy on your spouse as possible. You could offer to split the cost of travel – build out the visitation schedule ahead of time, offer to let the kids visit spend more holidays there than with you … there are many, many options on how you can make the relocation easy on your children and spouse. Make sure you explore all of the options.
But know that inevitably, in Wisconsin and many other states, the best interest of the children is the regulating factor that the court will use to decide custody. Proving this can be a pretty exhaustive process that usually involves witnesses, interviews with interested parties, and mental evaluations.
Either way – your cooperation throughout the process and this time is the best route to take. Always keep your children’s best interest in mind.
If you need help with this situation we would be happy to provide you counsel.
Jeff Hughes, J.D.