– from April V. in West Bend, WI

Question Details:

My husband and I have agreed to a divorce. We have also agreed that I will receive custody of our three children, and he will keep the house. My husband has recently told me that his agreement is only valid if I agree to stay within 25 miles of where we currently live. I initially agreed, but since have found a home closer to 40 miles away. My question is; can a court order me to stay within a certain area in order to maintain custody of my children?

Family Law Attorney Response:

This is actually a little more complicated than just answering your question. There are a few components of your statement that should also be addressed. To answer your primary concern, it is not likely that a court will order you to stay within a certain area in order to maintain custody.

Click here to learn about other factors that affect child custody.

In the case of Groh v. Groh, 110 Wis. 2d 117, 327 N.W.2d 655 (1983), the court had initially stipulated that the wife had to stay within 50 miles of Milwaukee in order to maintain child custody. After moving outside the 50 mile limit, her husband took her back to court for violating the custody order. The supreme court reversed the order and found that it could not be dictated to the custodial parent where they may reside within the state. With that being said, you have an agreement with your husband. Your moving may affect his willingness to agree to custody once you arrive in court.

My advice would be to contact a family law attorney right away, and explain your situation in its entirety before going to court.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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