Sometimes a man works diligently to create the ideal visitation schedule only to find, six months after a divorce is final, that he is being transferred to a distant location. What happens when your work schedule suddenly changes or you are forced to take a job in another city? Is your hard work in creating a good visitation schedule in vain? What options do you have in working out a new visitation schedule with your ex?
Make Choices Carefully
Before you decide to take a new job, think carefully about what you hope to accomplish in changing employment. It may be easier on you and your children to seek a new job or to discuss options for staying in your present location with your employer.
If, however, you believe that transferring is your only option, you may want to think about how to handle the issue of child visitation and discuss this with your kids and your ex.
- Present options for everyone. It is possible that your ex and your kids may prefer one visitation schedule over another. For example, if your children normally go to summer camp in July, they may not want to change their routine to fly across the country to visit you. Instead, see if there are other times you can get the children to your new location, such as spring or fall breaks from school.
- Work with your ex. You may not be happy with your ex-wife, but it is in everyone’s best interests if the two of you can work out a new visitation schedule without the interference of a judge. If this is simply impossible, be sure you consult with your attorney about your next steps.
- Exercise your rights. One thing you should never do is move and fail to address the custody/visitation issue. This can be construed as abandonment and may hurt your chances to see your children more frequently when you are ready to do so.
- Think about your children’s feelings. Your children may be frightened and feel abandoned by your move. Be sure to discuss the move with them and explain why you are choosing to move. Listen and be prepared to give credence to your children’s feelings as well.
If you are facing a cross-country move, talk to the attorneys at Men’s Legal Center about your options for creating a new visitation agreement.