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Update on the march to a Relocation Hearing

SAHsigh's picture

We finally got the relocation notice from BM's attorney on Friday. Now we are just waiting for the court to schedule the hearing.

The notice itself wasn't very surprising -- she wants DH to see SS/SD7 for about 5 weeks in the summer and alternate choice holidays during the school year. (DH and BM have currently 50/50 custody, no child support and it's been that way since SKs were 2 years old.) The notice also says that her reasons to relocate with kids is for employment, finances, support, family, opportunity, stability, and well-being. Attorney thinks she's going to have a really hard time convincing the court that a move like this is in kids' best interest, especially since we are moving into their school district (moments away from closing on the house, actually), we have documentation that proves DH (and myself as a backup) are super involved with school, activities, doctors, etc. We also have plenty of documentation where BM has fallen flat on her face -- forgot to pick up SKs on her days, doesn't always get kids to their activities, has to keep switching days around, etc. I don't think the documentation we have really paints her as a "bad parent," but it does illustrate that she's not as on top of what kids need as DH is these days. SS was also diagnosed with an adjustment disorder with anxiety that will also make relocating a harder sell. My boss even offered to give an affidavit or testimony stating that when I was hired, it was with the caveat that I be able to take care of SKs' needs should it come up -- including working from home if we had a sick kiddo; he really encourages me and other employees to volunteer in kids' schools, take time off for family vacations, etc. The office I have is really supportive of keeping the stepfamily arrangement we have as a positive one for me and the rest of our family and he's already proven that before this came up with BM.

BM's family is also going to be a hard sell -- closest family to where she wants to move will still be 3.5 hours away, her mom passed away, her dad has been convicted of insurance fraud (who also ran a porn service from his home), and her half-brother is about to stand trial for the first degree murder of her stepfather. BM's husband doesn't have a job there, but that could change between now and then. Twins' family in this area is about the same distance (3 hour drive away) but no one in DH's family has any serious issues like BM's family and they're all quite involved with twins. We drive to them or they come here about every 4 to 8 weeks and it would likely be more often now that we are getting a bigger house and SKs might be here even more. I have a really great in-law family, honest -- I totally lucked out.

The notice also includes the house she's found. We looked at it pretty closely and it's quite a downgrade from the one she has now. She's going from a 5 bedroom, 3.5 bath, 3,700 sq ft single family home to a 5 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 1,500 sq ft duplex. Attorney says that the court won't care too much about that -- a home is a home but it does surprise us she's downgrading so much. Not really sure what she's planning to do with everything she has since she has so much stuff it doesn't fit in her current house. (Honestly, I don't care much and it's her problem, not ours.) Still a surprise all the same. We are also finding that the neighborhood we are moving into is crawling with kids from SKs' classes and teachers. BM's current house is too isolated for that kind of community/kid-neighborhood environment.

BM is sending weird messages to DH or to DH and myself. She had SKs for a few days last week and she was sending quite a number of pictures of kids doing nothing particularly exciting -- SD in her martial arts class, SS playing, SS/SD walking. The best we can figure is that she trying to make a case that if she moves with them, she'll send us lots of pictures -- like it'll sway the judge to let her move with them because "See! I'll let DH (and SM) feel connected to them through pictures!" She's also bee sending DH messages about job listings she's looked into closer to where we are all currently located and last night she sent DH a message with a job posting for a gig for him about 3.5 hours away from where she wants to relocate.

It's also hard to say what SKs are going to tell the judge. They say that they don't want to go but I'm sure they tell BM that they want to go with her. Just seems awful to put seven year olds in this position. BM also says that the judge is going to side with her because she also has two other sons (half brothers to SKs ages 16.5 and 2.5).

I hate dealing with this. It's got me so stressed out that I feel worn down and sick. I'm ready to get it over with...

threeandfree's picture

It's as if we are living the same life. The BM in my world is doing the same thing, except only 30 miles away and doesn't want to change the 50/50 schedule. Her move would cause the kids to change schools 40 miles away and somehow we are supposed to get them to school 3 days per week with an hour commute the opposite direction of our jobs and my dd's school which is 5 blocks from our house.
I don't have any answers for you, but lots of sympathy. We have an GAL involved since DH and BM can't discuss anything without arguing so we needed a third party.
And yes, it's stressful, all consuming. My only advice as someone who has been dealing with this for the last three months with at least two more months to go is, take care of yourself! Find time to do things you love and seek out a sounding board for your anger and frustrations. Don't let it be the only thing you and your DH talk about, try and keep your life afloat as well. I'm not always good at all these things, but it's helping.

Like your situation and mine, I have to have faith that the GAL and judge will see through it all and not remove a parent from their life that is stable, in a good family, involved and is just as important as the other parent. Good luck and hang in there!

SAHsigh's picture

BM signed SS up for a very thorough psychological evaluation by a well known child psychologist in this area. She signed SS up for this without consulting with DH, gave him something 12 hours notice regarding the appointment (parental involvement was required for the full eval; even stepparents were asked to complete evaluations for SS). BM was hoping to get some heavy diagnosis that would land SS on meds or in full-time therapy because of how poorly he behaves with her. DH was pissed she signed him up without consulting with him and that he didn't even get enough notice to be part of the first of three appointments (he was away for work that night only).

Turns out that once everything was finished with the evaluations, Doctor said that SS is "gifted," not crazy, has behavior issues that are different between homes because of the effectiveness of each home's parenting, diagnosed with an adjustment disorder (with anxiety), and encouraged BM to try skits/scripts to deal with his behavior (even suggested they have therapy together if the scripts didn't help).

BM has not pursued therapy but still complains about his crummy behavior there. (I totally believe he's awful there; it sounds like he's a completely different kid than the one I've known since he was two.)

twoviewpoints's picture

I still think the biggest reason for the judge to rule in Dad's favor is his solid stability of making a consistent home and established 'roots' for these kids (the school, friends, childhood social activities such as sports/group organizations).

BM has a record of being 'flighty' and unsettled. She just did this I'm moving stunt two years ago... but it blew over and she never left. Now here she goes again. Up and going to chase another dream, uh job.

Sure, nice pictures of some house in some 'this time' locale, but what house and what locale in another two years? Oh, and the photos she's suddenly sending Dad? That isn't to prove she'll send photos after she moves to keep Dad connected. Nope, she's planning to use these in court to try and show how happy and well adjusted the kids are while with her.

Do your homework. Research your school district and the one BM's new house locale is. Be able to point out education strengths and weaknesses. The one child's anxiety could go overload with moving, leaving Dad and Dad's stability blah blah.

Anyway...I wish you and our husband the best of luck in court and hope however it turns out that the children do well .