Mother Needs to Move with Child to Find Work, Ex is Unwilling to Allow Move

“Current Situation: I have 50/50 custody with my ex-husband with our ten year old son.  During the last custody case, which ended in 2009, the difference between us as parents in custody is that the court order reads “child shall go to school in mother’s school district because father is more focused on negative attention towards mom than welfare of the child” (from 730 evaluator).  It’s a long story how we got this ruling, but father was going for full sole custody and making false accusations on me, the mother.

We are in California.  My ex-husband was an officer in USMC.  When we got divorced in 2004, I agreed to stay here in California even though both our families are in Ohio and we never intended to stay in California for very long when we first got stationed here in 2000.  In the original custody case my ex agreed to pay more than court ordered child support with my agreement to stay in California.  But in 2009 when he got remarried he asked for child support to be lowered back to state standards.  (He won a $500 a month reduction in CS.)  With the drop in economy and drop in child support I have tried to find work in the county we are living in, but since 2009, I have been struggling to find full time work.  I am college educated and have found jobs in a neighboring county but I can’t get hired unless I move.  The job market is tough and the employers know the commute from where I live is hard and long I tried to do this and would leave my house at 7am, get home at 7pm with a child that is crazy, plus the $500 in gas and toll roads.  I am now filing for a BK and losing my home, having to move to an apartment.

My ex-husband doesn’t work in the county we are both living in either, he commutes but because he is so far up in his career he can come and go as he pleases and the commute for him isn’t as bad.  He has never worked in the county he is forcing us to live in.  He just likes it because it’s where he and wife bought a house.

I want to move 45 miles to Orange County to a city where I can find work; I have followed my ex-husband’s career for 20 years.  He is retiring this year.  I have no health insurance, no retirement saved, filing a BK …I shouldn’t be forced to live and work in a county where I can’t find work and that has an unemployment rate of 14% when I can move 45 miles and find work and provide a better situation for our child.  How do I word this is simple terms to a judge?

I gave up my family to keep our son in his fathers life, I gave up my career to follow my ex-husband’s career…he is retiring so now he doesn’t and has never worked in the County of Riverside.  I am seeking to move 45 miles to a city just on the border of Riverside and Orange County that cuts my commute down so I can get home by 4 or 5 pm not 7pm and be a mom!  Is this unreasonable?  I have tried, I really have tried to find work in this county we are both living in but I can’t and the commute is too much for me.  I would often have to pull over and take 15 minutes naps.  I was falling asleep at work I mean what life is that… putting my life at risk is how I see it!  I am afraid I will have to lose my son now and walk away if I can’t move with my son… I can’t not support myself!  We are not a normal family custody situation.  This is military family with a military situation.  I have done all I can …it’s my ex-husband’s turn to give and sacrifice maybe that is the word for me the mother now…  My ex would not have had his 20 year career in USMC and be around our son if I didn’t give a lot and put myself last… but my situation is now where I need to take back.

I don’t think what I am asking a judge will be unreasonable.  The change in custody instead of 50/50 would be for father to give up one day a week more so our son doesn’t have to do the commute during the school week.  That is only 4 to 5 days a month.  I can give father more during the summer to make up, but that’s it.  How do I word this in simple terms explaining to the judge what I have given up so far and what led to this request and how it’s better for our child? Agghh as you can tell I am wordy.”
It seems as though you would like to have your custody order modified. Sometimes, the Court will add language in the orders that would allow the parents/guardians to come to a different custody arrangement, and just submit something to the court to make them aware of the changes in address and such.  However, if you and your ex-husband cannot come to an agreement, you can petition the Court to modify the standing order.  You should contact a family law attorney in your area to help guide you through the process.

You should also know that in the state of California, under the doctrine of the Marriage of Burgess, the primary custodial parent is allowed to move for any reason, so if you are the primary parent with at least 51% of physical custody, there should be little trouble getting the Court to allow you to move.