Monday, February 28, 2011

Should You Relocate After Divorce When Kids Are Involved?

I recently wrote Post-Divorce Parenting: Visitation vs Time-Sharing. In that post, I shared how in my state – Florida – the family law rules have changed recently and one of the significant changes is that the term visitation is no longer used; instead, it’s now time-sharing. The implications of this are huge, in my view. The Florida courts now promote the idea that kids have two homes in which they live – no longer living primarily with one parent and visiting the other every other weekend. The big winners in this ruling are the kids, as far as I’m concerned.

As I thought about this ruling, what came to mind was the fact that after divorce, when individuals are free to go on and live the rest of their lives, many parents make major decisions with the kids in mind. While others make those decisions with what’s best for them or their careers in mind. Yet others start new families and think more about that new family and less about the kids from their former relationship. So I thought that today I’d write about the relocating after a divorce when kids are involved.

Most couples, as they enter relationships, are on cloud nine, as the expression goes. They imagine a fairy-tale life of happiness. Then comes reality; when the honeymoon is over and life becomes life, it’s a big wake-up call for many. Still, they settle down and have kids and try to make the best of life, despite the fact that they’ve realized that the person who they married is not quite as perfect as the person that they dated.
Many couples make it through this phase and go on to live happily ever after. Sometimes they make it but only after going to counseling where they get professional help to straighten things out. But many couples do not make it – and that’s just the reality of the situation. Despite their best efforts, many of these relationships end in divorce.
I always say that when marriages and other relationships end, when there are no kids involved, no matter how bitter or nasty the process may get, when it’s over, it’s over and then the healing begins. There’s nothing further from the marriage to deal with. When there are kids, however, there is a lifetime connection that never goes away. As long as the parents and the children are alive, they all have to deal with each other, to some degree.
Some couples, during their divorce proceedings, work together to ensure that, despite the ending of the relationship, they both remain actively involved in the day to day lives of the children. So they agree to live in the same vicinity – whether in a formally written agreement or just by a verbal understanding. Others have no such understanding or agreement but still they end up living in the same area because they choose to.

Then there are those who believe that, when the marriage has ended and they get on with their lives, they are free to pursue their goals and dreams without consideration to their former spouse. I’d like to address these individuals with this post. Please note that when I write about subject matters that may be a bit sensitive, as this one is, I’m not really saying what individuals should or shouldn’t do. My primary objective is to get others to see the potential impact on the children when these decisions are made.
So the question at hand is: Do you relocate after a divorce when kids are involved? My thought is that, it’s not a yes or no question. There are so many factors to consider.
The first issue to consider is why one would want to relocate. Some people have such a bitter divorce that they want to get as far away from their former spouse as possible. Others just want to start over fresh and new in an area where no one knows them or their family. That way, they don’t routinely run into their former spouse or other people who know them. Those meetings can potentially reopen wounds that are supposed to be healing.
Then others want to move back to the community where they grew up because they know of the unconditional love and support that they are shown there. Each of these reasons is certainly understandable. I know, having gone through a divorce, just how meaningful it is to be surrounded with love when you’re going through such a difficult period.
Still, when there are kids involved, each of these choices needs to be looked into a bit further. I believe that kids need the love and support of both parents. Note that I didn’t just say that kids need both parents. This is because some parents are just not the loving and supportive type; their kids might be better off without them. But when parents lovingly support their kids, I believe that they ought to be involved in their lives.
One of the significant factors to consider when thinking about relocation is the age of the kids. For instance, if the kids are 2 or 3 years old, one’s thought process might be different than if the kids are 15 or 16. A young child who’s just growing and developing a bond with the parents might lose that bond if one parent moves away.
I have a college friend who divorced. Not long after the divorce, his former wife wanted to relocate to a different city within the same state. They had a 2 year old child. He fought successfully to prevent her from moving because his point was that the bond with his young child may be broken. A year or so after the divorce, he got the opportunity of a lifetime – a high paying executive position in his home country, halfway around the world. I don’t know how long he deliberated but he ended up taking that position. So now, instead of seeing his child multiple times each week, he sees her once or twice a year.
The other extreme is when divorced parents make the decision to live close together so that the divorce won’t be too disruptive for the kids. I have a friend who went through a divorce a few years ago. He and his former wife have 2 teenagers. One of the children has autism and requires special care. Both parents agreed to live in the same community so that together they could provide their child the special care that’s needed.
A very significant factor in making such a decision is whether the kids would be relocating with us or not. It’s one thing to move with the kids and have them with us all the time; but it’s a totally different consideration when we move without the kids, knowing that we’ll see them less frequently. And when we move with the kids, we also need to consider how that might affect the kids’ relationship with the other parent, knowing that they’ll see him/her less frequently.
So you see, it’s really not a yes or no answer when we think about whether or not to relocate. Life is really all about choices. And the choices that we make affect not only ourselves but others. I don’t think that we can simply say people should not relocate after a divorce when there are kids involved. There’s just too much to consider. In my view, however, kids should be considered above our own personal wishes and desires.
I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve been affected in any way by the relocation issue after a divorce. I know that for some of you, reading this post has touched you deep within as you consider your own life and the decisions that you’ve made or that others have made.
I always try to get parents to think of the kids first. In the ideal world, we get married and live happily ever after. But that utopia doesn’t exist for everyone. I just encourage you to think of the kids in the decisions you make. You can relocate and be as close as ever to your kids. Or the same move could cause you to lose the essential connection with them.
If your kids are in a different city today, for any reason, give them a special phone call to let them know you love them.
Enjoy your day.

The Upbeat Dad



  1. I was brought here by a link on ProActiveDads, and would like to say your current post touches me and my situation directly.
    I am about to go through a divorce, and have a young son. Prior to the proceedings, I had returned to my home country to visit with my family and plan the next steps of separation. It soon became apparent that if I remained out of the country I would see my son only twice a year at best. Leaving the love and compassion of my family behind was one of the harder things I have ever had to do, but knowing that I was doing it to provide my son with regular access to his father was the one guiding precept that sustained me.
    Life here in the Midwest has been anything but easy since my return: little work, infrequent access to my son and the ever-present emotional strain that the separation caused have all contributed to a bleak outlook.
    Thankfully, good friends and the information gleaned from sites such as yours have helped me in my path, and now I am actively moving through the divorce process with a more positive attitude. I have applied and been accepted to study at two (possibly three) local Universities, and have chosen the closest one to my sons' residence so that seeing him regularly can be a reality, rather than a dream. This University is overshadowed by a much better program in the same state, but the choice was clear.. be far away and enrolled in a great program, or be enrolled in a good program and within an hours' drive of my son.
    I pray every day that these actions send a clear message to those who will have control over how and when I see him. I love my son, and try to call him every day, sometimes with success, mostly only reaching a voicemail. I would encourage all fathers in similar situations to consider their children first before making any decision to move far away. Your child needs you, no matter what the opponents may try to say.
    Thank you for posting this question and giving me an opportunity to add my story to your site.
    In Process, Midwest.

    1. I want to appreciation to Dr.Kasee of ONIMALOVESPELL@GMAIL.COM for bringing back my husband who left me and the kids for almost 2 years. i never taught i would get him back untill i saw a comment online about dr.agbazara and i contacted him, after following all instruction given to me by Dr.Kasee, my husband came back begging for forgiveness within the space of 48hours. Thanks doctor your spell is really great. For those of you who have marriage/relationship problem should contacct him for hel via . And experience it your self.

  2. This question has been on my mind since my husband and I separated. I am a 4th year graduate student and had been planning on applying for postdoctoral positions all over the country this year. This is the way academia works. But now, I feel paralyzed. How can I do this and not disrupt the relationship that my children have with their father? Would I even be allowed to do so? If I don't, what will happen to my career?

    1. have you considered going to court or talking to the father after your acceptance letter to the nearest school? I'd take the proof that I've applied to many schools and then take the acceptance letter(s) as proof that I am not doing this to be devious. I'd say you want to make a better life for your child and that was the only opportunity you had-which is to go to a school far away. You have to be sincere and apologetic and stern about it. You do not want to change your major just because he doesn't care about your needs or hates you. Let it be clear that you will be back in a few years and in between on break if possible and want the children to have a sufficient relationship with their father, and that you're not trying to take them away-it's for a purpose that you're moving and temporarily. Good luck with both your career and children. :)

    2. I was married to my husband for 15 years with a baby of my own it was a sad marriage we had alots of fightings and even divorce until i met this great spell caster who helped me get my husband back and made my pregnant i dont know how he did he just told me to go and have sex with my husband and the next month I missed my period and that is all i know I am a mother if triplets now thanks to dr Azima you can contact him now and say good buy to the spirits of barriness on He is really powerful and i hope he helps you. save your marriage today

  3. You ask a very good question: How can I do this and not disrupt the relationship that my children have with their father?

    No matter what happens, the kids would be affected in some way. But still, life goes on. How can you do what's best for them while doing what's best for you? It's not easy.

    I think you do what best you can to work with your ex to figure the best scenario and hopefully the impact on the kids would be minimal. Easier said than done I know but its an ideal to aim for.

  4. So your friend stopped the mom from moving on and then up and moved himself away from the child a short time later, with no compunctions. I see this so frequently. That man is a hypocrite and typical of the entitled and controlling attitude that men have towards the women who aren't picking their socks up anymore and the babies they "get" from them.

  5. Great advice. Once again it feels good to know that I am on the right track in choosing to stay around after I am divorced primarily for my kids. They are my pride and joy.

  6. so your friend kept his ex from moving for HER dream, but when it came to HIS dream, that was okay. this is my experience; men take action in court to secure THEIR rights, not the rights of their children. my ex is a HORRIBLE man. an abusive father. a liar, thief, etc. but the court still awarded him 20% custody. he has admitted to throwing them across the room, screaming at them, pushing them, slapping them across the face, etc. the court still thinks time with him is "important". my 12 year old has 2 therapists, because her "father" is the most abusive towards her. children do not NEED both parents. children need love and support. they need people who will be patient and appreciate them. people who will honor them.
    and when it comes to who's time it is; its not dads weekend, or moms weekend; its the KIDS weekend. we aren't dividing a set of china. children have feelings and fears and needs. it is not good for children to move from house to house. one parent should act as the primary home and the other parent visits as it fits into the schedule of the primary parent and the children. the only "rights" anyone should be concerned are those of the children.
    btw, in our custody evaluation my ex was found to be a bi-sexual, transvestite, narcissist w/ a borderline personality disorder. i knew none of that when i married him. but the court thought none of that mattered. his being a liar and living a secret life; totally okay.
    the family court system is BROKEN.

    1. I would caution against claiming that men are the problem. My son's mother has been found to have narcissistic and borderline personality disorder. She was just found in contempt of court for lying to the court and stealing $9k in money, yet the court refuses to do anything to help my son. She is the primary parent because she is the mother. The bias against fathers is horrendous in this society. My son is being abused by his mother, used as a weapon and treated horribly. After years of trying to be an active father, I am at a point of giving up. Neither his mother nor the courts seem to care about him or allowing a relationship between me and him. I feel like moving away and maybe saving him from being put in the middle all the time. If the courts will not stop the abuse, what is a father supposed to do?

  7. It helps a lot to read this post. Although I have family in the state where I currently live, I feel a stronger connection to another state where I have friends of 20 years and where I spent my early career years. They've been suggesting that I move back there, and I'm pretty sure the job prospects are stronger.
    The issue is that ironically, I don't want to move my child away from his father. It's not that I hold the father in high regard, far from it. It's that I know my child really needs his dad. During the separation period, I've allowed my child to go on out of state trips with his dad to see grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins -- a 14-hour car trip. It's really hard for me to do this, but I know the connection with his paternal side is equally important. I had it as a kid, because my parents did not divorce. Why should I deprive my child of it?
    But I always return to this issue of feeling more secure with a better job and being surrounded by the people who love me most. In this case, those people are friends, not family. I guess I'm an anomaly that way.
    I suppose the answer for now, given our state of upheaval and wanting to keep things even for the child, is to stay put. I'm sure I can find a better job locally if I work long enough at it. And I'll work at strengthening my relationships in the local community. Maybe someday when I feel the time is right, I'll look into that move. For now, I just don't think it's good for the kiddo.
    Thanks for this post, because I've really been wrestling with the idea, but this helped me to sit down and crystallize it.

  8. Ultimately, provided that the children will still be able to enjoy a meaningful relationship with both parents, then relocating following a divorce is fine.

    Divorced parents need to put their children's welfare first whenever they make a decision. It's that simple.

  9. My ex had our second baby and then announced her affair, and her need for a divorce. So all those years and sacrifices... now I have a chance to live on Europe and pursue my career... the kids... how do I make what's good for me, good for them. I didn't bring this on...

    Peace with the Ex. Realistic planning. Compassion. The children are already living a compromised life that we are all working hard to overcome. A relocation is just another complication. Where there is a will there is a way.

    It's not about selfishness or selflessness. It's about love, and how you show it. And part of that is how you treat yourself and your dreams and your goals. Without those, you don't have much to offer your children.

  10. A question.....My ex and I have been divorced going on 4 years. We have two teenagers,a 9 and 5 year old. We have both remarried and he has taken on her two children who are under the age of 4. My new husband and I have the chance to move for a new job out of state, which would also allow us to be closer to his mother who is elderly and ill. What do you think the courts would say if he tries to prevent the move based soley on the basis of not seeing them every other week? And can he move where ever we do?

    1. Are you kidding?? do u really think the court will let you take your kids out of states and out of their father? you will have to stay in the states with your new husband, unless their dad agree to your move. 0% it will happen

  11. That's a tough one. I'm not sure just how the courts would see it. Each state operates differently. Some push for 50/50 sharing of time between dad and mom while others think mom should be primary custodial parent.

    Even so, relocation is one of those things that the courts can be firm on, particularly in your case - where you would be moving with the kids. I would think that if your ex objects, the courts would give greater consideration to your children's proximity to their dad than the proximity of your new husband to his mom.

    If you do move and your ex decides to move to the same city, there's nothing I can think of that would prevent him from doing so.

    Hope this helps. Remember, through all of this, it's the kids' best interest that should be priority.

    Best of everything to you and your family.

  12. It seems that in many cases the father is only partially involved with raising the child. Perhaps that's just how he wants it. It's pretty convenient for him to have his Ex around to take care of the kids 85% of the time and then see them for part of the weekend. What about those situations? The mother is stuck living near the father but wants to move on with her life. She takes care of the kids most of the time anyway and is simply enabling the father to be a part-time father at best. She is being held hostage to his lack of responsibility as a parent and it really seems unfair. In these cases, what difference does it make if the kids see their father for a couple months of the year over summer vacation and on other holidays? It might actually force the father to be an parent for a change instead of a buddy the kids see on Saturday night.

    1. I find this really offensive, when I was younger I spent the weekends at my Dad's and weeknights at my Mom's. Dad has always been more involved, I wanted to play school sport, Mom wasn't interested so Dad pick me up after school, took me to training, and dropped me off at home. Dad always spent time with us playing board-games or reading or cooking or whatever, Mom would just plonk us in front of the TV while she slept off her hangover. Just because the courts ruled we should spend more time with Mom (pretty much just because of this archaic idea that mothers are better parents) does NOT mean he was dodging his responsibilities, if anything he was MORE of a parent!

    2. Wow imagine , a divorced women actually having consequences for the divorce she probably asked for.....;(

  13. I am a father going through a divorce and have two children: a four year old that I am extremely close with and a newborn. Eight days after my daughter's birth, my wife told me she wanted a divorce. We have always had issues and we have made mistakes in our marriage that ultimately led to this. One of the biggest issues is that I have had a fantastic opportunity to work for the military in a specialized role. I am a veteran and have wanted to return to the military for many years. This has always been a source of tension between us. Now that we are divorcing, I want to finish my military career, but feel it may ruin my relationship with my children because they will hardly ever see me. So, I have forced myself to take a career position very near them geographically instead. The downside is that while I'm close to my children, I am miserable professionally because I know what I want to do with my life, but feel I would be failing my children if I go do it. It's a conundrum for sure. I'm miserable professionally, but close to my kids. If I take my dream career, I'll miss them terribly and they won't have a very close relationship with me, I fear. I don't know what to do. I want to do what's best for my kids, but I don't want to go through the rest of my life resenting the fact that I knew what I wanted out of my life, but couldn't go do it. Many people don't get this about the military. It's a calling for some people, just like becoming a priest, cop, minister, or missionary. It is your life and personality... not just a job. By not going, I'm miserable because it feels like I'm denying myself from BEING myself! Your thoughts negative or positive would be appreciated.

    1. It's hard to say without knowing who you and your ex are. If you are gone it will make it easier for your ex to say you abandoned the kids if she is angry or mean spirited. On the other hand my dad was not around much when I was a child, but knowing that his door was always open for me should I choose to have more contact with him in the future was a very good thing. Also these days with Skype and Facetime etc. if your ex is able to be amicable and let you talk to your kids through that it can help with the distance while allowing you to pursue your military career. I am now a stepmom and we are trying to get our lives together and do what is best for us and for his daughter. His ex is very difficult to deal with and moves around each year because she can't pay her bills on time and is on government assistance working part time and whines about how hard her job is to my husband all the time. His daughter is nine and we have been debating moving out of the state in a couple of years and since we barely see his daughter ie every other weekend and half the summer, it's been a hard choice in a way but easy in another. Going through this with my husband and having grown up with my father being distant, I would say that you should do what you need to do for you. I find that many people try to do what is best for others and sometimes even then in the end their relationship with their children is ruined or non-existent. Kids can tell when their parent is miserable and kids especially as adults will do what they want and make their own choices. I don't think it matters what you do or where you are as long as you keep in some form of contact and they know you love them and as I said before that the door is open. There will be more time when they are adults to get close, that's what I have done with my father and now we have a great bond.

  14. It sounds like you're going to be miserable either way. It's a no-win situation for you. Therefore, I'd choose the option that at least allows your children to be happy by having you present in their life.

  15. A few years ago I divorced from my daughter's father when she was only two years old. He, til this day, she is now 6 blames me for her not bonding with her. Now, we live only 2.5 hours away. Before we got married, he knew I was planning to move to this city because of my family. I married with the idea he was ok with us to move to my hometown. When we divorced, the hardest part was realizing how much emotional damaged he had done thoughout our marriage and even during the divorce, including not wanting to see his daughter for 6 weeks. Now, what I have told him, what is his excuse for not moving to be near his daughter if he felt our move affected his bond? Parents move ... people move. I was awarded the decision to be able to take the child and move where I saw fit in the court. Now, the reason I moved was because I needed family support since I had no one in the city we lived in. After so many attempts to fix the marriage, including therapy, I did think in the best interest of my child. So it is not all black and white. My point is not so much about the initial move with the child, but if the other parent really cares, why does that parent not move to be closer to their child? Like my ex, he can keep playing the victim and say I am the one ruining the bond, but the reality is that he can move as well. Not all the blame has to fall on the parent having the child. IF it were me, and I would not have custody of my child, and my ex moved, I would be packing that same day and figuring out how to work and live where ever my child was living. So in my perspective this article does not address a big part of ... hey...other parent...don't play the victim...go after your child if you really love them and stop blaming and complaining.

    1. If your ex moved with the child, you would pack your bags the same day to be with your child?? Really? You were the one moving to be with your family depriving your child from having 2 parents growing up. You expect your ex to move to your city but does your ex have support there? It's time to put the child first when you have a child...

    2. My wife moved to her hometown 600 miles from where we lived and the only hometown the kids knew. She said she wanted to be closer to her family. My kids are 17, 15 and 12. I followed her, giving up a good job, to be close to the kids. She allowed me to move in with her until I found work and moved out. She was so incredibly mean to me that I had to move back before I could find a home. I moved back with my dad and was out of work for a year (yes, there was no work at even Home Depot or Walmart). The kids loved there schools, Church and friends. They did not want to leave. The only reason I moved was to rebuild our family as she said she would work on it. I know realize she just wanted to stall me until she reached the 6 month residency requirement so she could file there and not in our home state. After a year, the kids have friends and are not sure they want to come back. I think they will but I am not sure if I should proceed with a custody fight or move closer to them. I could work to make a good place for them to come back to when they decide (I think they will) and to visit friends and family, or move there until the youngest graduates. I would have to find work there and a place which would take time, I am working here though.

  16. Interesting article. New to the site, but I think I'll register and stick around as an upbeat dad!

    Well we are in the process of divorcing (she wants to I don't) and my soon-to-be-ex expects me to stay in the European town in which have lived for the past 10 years. Whilst is is a FANTASTIC place to raise our 2 boys of 5 and 8, its not such a great place for a single man in my position. This is her country and not mine and cities are simply better for foreigners to get on. So in due course I plan to move to a bigger city 20 minutes away (where I work) to start a new life. . I'd like us to co-parent (this is the legal default) and she needs to if she wants to continue to work part-time. This arrangement means more complexity with getting the kids to school, which I currently do 2-3 times a week now before I go to work and pick them up at least twice a week too. We should be able to continue but it'll mean more time travelling. This is already quite a juggling act when combined with current job responsibilities. I plan to work less in 2013 (change in legal contract) to make co-parenting easier by working a 4 day week. This is continental Europe and my boss is okay with this change.

    So this arrangement is manageable I think. Not ideal but manageable. Is this move reasonable on my part given the circumstances? I love my kids and I have a right to a new life too!

  17. I have a 12 and an 8 year old and was the primary supporter of the family until I got laid off last Spring and have been unable to find a job. I live in a rural area with not many friends or job prospects and want to have a fresh start by being closer to my family, including my aging mother. I have many family and friends in CT and more job prospects and opportunities being closer to NY. I also am not thrilled about our high school and the sports limitations for my son there. My husband has a very weak job history (often taking winters off), few contacts in the area and I have suggested to him that I don't want to move away from him, I want us to move together and figure out a plan. Think we all could use a new fresh start (a lot of baggage living in rural community where everyone knows your history). My 8 year old loves her school and friends, and my son wants me to move into the next community that is richer, better schools, and he has lots of friends there. It would still be far away from my family and jobs so doesn't solve the problem. I worry if I force everyone to move, the kids will hate me. They are popular, outgoing athletic kids and think they are pretty flexible. Hard to know what to do.

  18. Adrien
    I have 3 kids and I am in the process of deciding whether to move back closer to my friends and family where I have support. As well as getting divorced I am starting a new career after being a professional athlete for 20 years.I feel I made many sacrifices in my marriage and find myself having difficulty deciding what my next step should be. It is difficult because I might not see my children in the beginning stages and I don't want my children to suffer. Being somewhere where you feel isolated during such changes isn't optimal for them as well.My goal is to live in both places eventually, the need to prioritize my goals in order to make this possible will determine my next step. Would love some comments!!!

  19. My wife and I are divorced now and I am thinking about moving to a part of the state where I have family instead of staying where she has family, a place I never would have moved to unless it involved my wife and her family. We have discussed me moving with my son to another area of the state, about 5 hours or so drive away, and he would attend school there 4 days a weeks and be able to be with his mother the other three days where she lives. He cried at first but then thought it would be pretty cool to do this. He and I have a special bond, I might even say a stronger bond than he has with his mom because she doesn't really spend much time with him even when they are together. What to do? Move to where I have family and get a new start, get out of this small area where everyone knows everyone? Or, stay here and have all the time in the world with my son but have to deal with my ex more often and her friends and family. Our son is 12 and will be starting middle school next year so the move to another school isn't as bad as moving in the middle of a grade or school year. What do you think? Anyone who has an opinion is welcome, please be respectful. Thanks.

  20. My ex and I have 50/50 custody of our boys 12, 9, and 8. I am thinking about relocating to another state some 24 hrs away. I want to do this for work. My ex says it is abandonment if I leave. I would still be able to see the kids just that they would have to fly out in the summer and back at the end of summer. I really see nothing wrong with this, except that the 12 yo wants to live with me and mom is holding onto him tightly. She seems to think that it is wrong to break up the kids. I am not so sure it would impact them that much. The other two would have more mom time and vice versa. I am confused and really unsure as to what to do. My family lives in the other state and here I have no one other than my children. I live as far away from her as I can right now. She still broods a fair amount of anger towards me and lets the boys know it. Just lost I guess.

  21. I too live in a city in Canada very far from where my family and close friends live and where I grew up (other side of the country). I would never have chosen to live here but this is where my wife is from and she definitely will not move. We have a 4 year-old daughter and now we are getting a divorce (somewhat mutual I suppose although I wanted to keep working on it). I have only a few friends here and only see my family once a year. I've sort of resigned myself to the fact that I'll be living here for the next 15 years at least for my daughter's sake. I love my daughter more than anything but at the same time it really hurts to think of what I'm giving up. My parents are getting older and I'm losing the connection to my home. But what else can I really do?

  22. Good to see a lot of people facing the same challenges. Moved to the midwest because the exwife wanted to be by her family with our young children. We soon divorced and I have no one here, feeling isolated, miss my family, friends and support on the west coast. My relationship with the ex is not healthy, we still cannot communicate after 3 years a part. She says I'd be abandoning my kids if I move, yet she does little to make anything easy for any of us. Shes a very irresponsible person that does little to improve or take care of herself, but continues to grind me for more child support and extra monies for everything. I love my kids, but I feel unhealthy in this situation. I struggle with the thought of moving away from my kids, but I feel trapped in a miserable life, which isn't good for my kids either.

  23. I'm British and lived in Spain with my British ex and three children. When I got separated from my ex, I moved back to Britain for the support of my family and old friends and - critically - because I could not find any employment in Spain that would actually cover both my maintenance and my living costs. Now I have a good job back in Britain (which at least means the children benefit from a good amount of maintenance), but don't see them nearly as often as I like because of the limited annual leave I get - to spend a weekend out in Spain with them can take up to 4 days of leave (Thursday, Friday, Monday, Tuesday) in the winter months because of limited flights to the region of Spain where they live. They stay with me for half of each of the three school holidays (Christmas, Easter, Summer) which is lovely, but I find the long gaps in-between very hard. I try to speak to them on the phone frequently, but they have a lot going on (out with friends/sports activities/playing in the garden or park etc) that I don't get hold of them often as I like. It is hard! I record video messages to them on DVD sometimes and send them out, which I know they appreciate, but I long for a job with enough money and flexible leave that I can get out see them more often between the holidays.

  24. I snapped packed and left my emotionally abusive husband.I took the kids 6 and 10 8 hours away to another state where my family is .I need their support through this difficult time plus it would be much easier and cheaper to bring up my kids here .i would never be able to survive on the east coast where my ex lives.but my ex loves the kids a lot and is devastated and my older one can't stop crying coz will miss dada and old school.Im considering moving back but I'm scared to do that bcoz life is more expensive and I will not have the great support my family would give me and the kids.i don't want to fall under my ex control again when he would know that he would be the only one around to help me.But I still want my kids to enjoy his frequent company ??

  25. I live in the same town as my son right now and drive 45 minutes to work each day. He stays with his mom and I see him on Wednesdays and every other weekend. I could move across the street from work and still see him on Wednesdays and every other weekend but I'm not sure how he will feel about me moving 45 minutes away instead of being 10 minutes from him.

  26. The points raised in the article are valid ones. I believe that contact with the children often becomes a problem after divorce, particularly when the divorce is an acrimonious one. I have read that men often view 'wife and children' as a kind of package deal, and find it hard to disentangle their relationship with their children from their failed relationship with their former spouse. My own experiences tend to highlight this. As a noncustodial father, after several years of bitter legal fighting, now that the divorce is over, I personally am tempted to relocate far away. This may seem selfish, but it is intensely painful to be relegated to seeing your child every two weeks, and have most of your parental influence removed by the court. Seeing the child merely opens old wounds and every parting is painful. It is actually easier to just not see the child and then the memories become hazy and they become an abstraction, not a constant, painful reminder of what you lost. When I go a period of time without seeing my child, the price I pay is in the dreams I have when I sleep, and a constant doubt and guilt. However when I see the child, there is the pain of doing it, the stress of the arguments with the ex and the misery of the parting and the realisation that you are no longer really an important part of your child's life. It is a hard thing to bear.
    There are multiple articles on the web of course about the so-called 'dead-beat dads'. The implication is that anyone who doesn't see his kids every week and remains fully integrated in their lives, is somehow a failure. I do not agree with this viewpoint because very often, as in my case, the mother does not encourage the relationship or even, actively tries to prevent it. I now understand why emotionally and financially drained, battle-weary dads just decide to walk away. It is very tempting to start a new life and never, ever be forced to speak to the ex again. The arguments become too tiring. Dads who do so, in such a situation, whilst continuing to honor their financial obligations, I feel are doing so out of a desire to move on with their lives when they are helpless to see any other path that will allow them peace. If relocation is a part of that moving on, either through opportunity or choice, then its for the individual to decide what makes them happy. There are no points in life for spending a miserable fifteen years of your life, being where you don't want to be, if you feel you will be happier elsewhere. Fathers who have been forced by the legal system into being merely 'income providers' already lost the majority of their parenting time and the bulk of their bond with their children. Coming to this realisation is not an easy or quick process. For me, at least, it has happened in stages. The first stage was when my ex took the child and moved away. You spend a while trying to adjust to this. Then when the legal process starts, the lies and the wrangling and (in my case) my ex's unsuccessful attempts to get 'orders of protection' and 'full custody', the bitterness increases and the contact decreases. Whilst the fighting goes on, its natural to fight back, and indeed anger gives you energy. However, once the dust settles and the fighting is over, for me at least, it has become increasingly difficult to continue to make the effort. I just feel tired of fighting - so, for me, if I was offered a chance to relocate anywhere on the planet, I would certainly consider it. It comes down to personal choice - but I don't believe it any more noble to stay than I consider it a bad thing to go, however society does not widely support this viewpoint.

    1. I found your comments to be very enlightening and similiar to my current situation which has been pretty awful. So first, sorry to hear your going through this pain. It does completely drain you regardless ofmwhich side of the coin your on. Im currently seperated from my husband going thru a divorce. He basicaly had a midlife crisis, laid off from his job, and hated our marriage so he met someone in anither state and conviently began job searching in that specific state and used the job relocation as an excuse to leave his family and live another life, apparently, a better life without his family. He syas he wss able to do this because I stayed in our home and took care ofnour young children, all the while he ws figuring out his new found freedom and decided he liked it, and would not commit to working on the mwrriage or when he would return home to his family. I supportednhim thru this job relocation knowing it was completely temporary. Them as soon as he ws settled there he wanted a divorce and has gone so long as 12 weeks without seeign his children. He has completely chosen to live 16 hours away from them and thinks its acceptable to see them every 4 weeks, at best. This is not parenthood in my opinion. I have had to beg him to come visit after being away for 4 weeks, begged him to come home for fathers day and have always given him prority seeing the kids when he has been willing to fly back home. He thinks its accetable to pay nearly $800 a month to see them once a month for a few days, rather then living closer to them. He has a temp. Job and temp living arrangements and im sure will arrange to kive for away for jis own selfish reasons, all the while telling our children he is away for work and work keeps him away. They want to know why they can't see uim more and why he cant live closer? What do I say? He would have me move closer to him, takifng kids away from family and friends and the only home they have known, because he would then be able to stay where he is, but cause massive upheaval for the kids. Long and short if you really wan tto be a parent to your children on at least a day to day, or weekly basis, dont give up the fight, an adult can process and cope with these life changes so much better then children who should be enjoying their childhood vs. Wondering when they will see their absent parent again. I wish uou the best and hope your other half sees how this is effecting yiur children

  27. I am a mother of two wonderful kids, ages 2 and 7. I have lived in the US for 12 years to be with my American husband. To be honest, I have never enjoyed living here, I feel isolated, lonely and have missed my friends and family for years. My husband is well-aware of this, yet he has never made any effort to move. I have batted depression and feel that I need to be a happy person in order to make my kids happy. This has been one of the main reasons for our separation. He knows that I have been wanting to move for years and that I have been unhappy yet he has chosen to not help me.

    It's been over a year since we separated and I am still unsure what to do. I am from Sweden and want nothing more than to move back. I will be able to get government assistance, get my master's degree, and raise my children in what I consider to be a much safer and better place to raise them than America. I just don't see how I can afford living in America as a single mom with a child in daycare and one in aftercare, even with his financial help and with my ok income. I also want to be where I have family and a support system. Even after so many years in America, I feel that I have no one. I truly feel trapped and don't know what to do.

    My husband says he is ok with me moving back to Sweden, but I fear what it will do to him and the kids. How can I make the decision for them to grow up without their father in their life other than on summer holidays just for my own happiness? Am I being selfish, or should I pursue my own dreams?

    1. Hi,
      Amazing how your case just likes mine. I married an American woman, and after few years came to US to live here for 4 years, but realized my ex does not want to go back to my country. I am here already 11 years most of the time never enjoyed living here, far away from family, friends, and supportive environment. I am a father for 3 amazing kids, love them so much. I got divorce 3 years ago, but what do you do with the fact that i am in the US for almost 11 years, feeling lonely now, especially after the divorce, but want to go back home?! I mean, do i really need to spend now all my life (at least for the next 14 years - until my little one will be 18) far away from home, and family? Find a new woman where i live, seem to be hard and challenging. I Never missed any child support payment, pay by myself tuition for all kids, health insurance. etc., etc. it is a no win situation either way. But sometimes in life you have to make a very hard decisions, so after many years when you look back, you know you did the right think for your kids’ sake, but also some for yourself. I will be happy to hear from you more about your situation, and what are your plans? Did u decide already, or you still don’t know what to do? Does your ex-husband agree for you to take the kids to Sweden? One thing for you - Don’t let any depression or hard times to break you!! Eventually you will be out of it and find a new life. Your happiness is not less important than your kid’s happiness. I will be glad to hear back from you.
      All the best

  28. I am a recently separated father of 2 girls one 5 and the younger one 2. My ex has found a new partner who lives 400km away and wants to move there with our two daughters to be with him. She can find a similar job there to the one she has now. We are currently working this out between ourselves instead of going to court where we are unable to pay for the lawyers. We currently jointly share our children one week with the mother the other week with me. If this moves takes place I will only be able to have my daughters every second weekend and at vacation times. As a father I am worried that the bond I have with both girls will fade with time, does anyone have any suggestions how to keep our bond strong if the move does take place?

    1. Hi:

      If you are already sharing custody, why is it a given that the children have to relocate with your ex? In other words, why can't *she* be the one who is with them every second weekend and on vacations? Or why can't her new partner move 400km to where you are?

      Those questions are a little rhetorical (and bitter), but you might want to ask them anyway.

      If she does end up moving away with your daughters, if you make efforts you will always have a strong bond with your daughters. In addition to your regular visits, skyping with them every few days may seem kind of lame, but I find it works very well.

      Good luck with everything.

  29. I have a 12 year old son and I have not been with his mother since he was one years old. I have recently fought tooth and nail to have shared custody and things are going great. However, I have been re-married for 2 years and eventhough my wife loves my son, she misses her country. I miss her country as well, since I lived there for a year when we first met. I have so much more opportunity there and she wants to start a family, but only there. his is due to the free health care and better child services that the country provides.She is miserable living here and it is hurting our relationship. All in all moving back to her home country would be an unbelievable thing for us. But what about my 12 year old son. I think that he needs me now more than ever. I am thinking that we should stay here for 2 more years until he goes to Highschool. At that time we will have a strong relationship and he is olde enough to visit me in the summers and I can come to the states in the winters. What are your thoughts?

  30. I am a divorced Father of an eleven year old son and a seven year old daughter. I moved from where we lived when my son was three months old in order for my wife to reunite with her side of the family which she really did not know because she was a product of a divorce. Now all these years later we are divorced and where I reside is twenty minutes from my kids. I see them one or two nights a week, every other weekend and extra days during vacations, special events and holidays. I have been contemplating a move to another state for work and a change in life . I worry about the effect in not being available as much to my children. I know there is the phone, Skype, etc. for everyday communication, yet I know if I make this move it will not be the same. However, I also know that if I make this change it would be better for me personally- meaning I would be happier, therefore a happier Father in general. This is really difficult and tormenting. I have approached the subject with my son in an abstract way ( I may move to someplace warmer someday- do not like cold weather.).
    Curious to see how others may have dealt with this...... I am fully prepared to have them anytime I can afford airfare for them-- which would be 6-7 times a year plus summer vacations...

  31. hi - i have 2 daughters aged 10 and 12 and have been very close with them since our divorce 6-7 years ago. They have lived with me 3 days a week since we divorced and our relationship is better than ever (children).

    I live 5 miles from their mother so there is no issue about travel or anything however i recently met someone , fell in love and after 2 years with her, considering moving in with her 30 miles away. My kids love her but MY big issue is that i will no longer have sleepovers with my daughters except for alternate weekends , currently they sleep over7-8 days a month during the week and these will become 'visits' if i move in with my girlfriend.

    I am having a lot of trouble deciding if i should seek out my personal desires with the impact on my kids time with me...wondering if any other dads out there have had this to consider......

  32. I have found your site by accident... I am happy i did... my story is much more complicated then yours mentioned above... my wife left me three months pregnant and moved to Malta... after a period of stress and frustration... she begged me to go to her... saying she was sorry for the abuse and that our daughter would need a father.. I would like to say that the two years of marriage we had were full of abuse, name calling etc... in any case i did love her and said for the sake of the baby, i agreed to relocate to her... a year and a bit has passed our daughter is one year old. and she has once again asked for a divorce.. in the one year i have been with her in Malta id like to say, i have been the primary carer for our daughter: putting her to sleep, feeding her changing her etc.. Being in a foreign country (im from Cyprus (2 hours by plane) and given the hostile, unforgiving and manipulative nature of my wife.. i question wether to stay in the country of return to my home country where my family and friends and life i grew up in is.. She has already blackmailed me with the baby, and does not return my calls. I love my daughter with all my heart... but i do not feel i can communicate with my ex wife, or that she even sympathizes that i relocated for her...

  33. Aww, this was a great read until the spam kicked in.


  34. I am a father of 3 wonderul girls. 18, 16 and 11. They are great in every way. I could not have asked for better daughters. Their mother and I are getting a divorce ater 24 years of marraige. We live in Alaska and have lived here for 23 years. I am originally from Oklahoma. I have family and friends in OK. The issue I have is we really cannot afford to get a divorce. We have so much debt I cannot afford to get a place of my own. I want her to have the house but her income is next to nothing. I have almost 100K in my retirement and have considered using it to get out of debt but the only way I can do that is to quit my job of 13 years and move. The reason I would move is mainly because the small community we live in and the stigma of divorce. As well as I could not find a job here that pays what I make now.

    With all of that said, I am wondering what people think the impact of me moving to OK would be on the girls. I know it will be tough but I do not see an alternative.

    We are working with a mediator who agrees my options are very slim.

  35. Hello, I am in the middle of a divorce and I have 3 wonderful girls. 18, 16 and 11. In the process of this it may come to me quitting my job to get to my retirement to pay off some debt. If I end up doing that, I will be moving because I cannot live in the same small town with all the drama. I have not lived in my home state since I was 17. I was not there when my dad died and I have missed a lot. I am contemplating moving back to my home state to be near my family. I think my girls will understand even though it will be difficult.

    Does anyone have any advice?

  36. I am about to deal with this situation myself. I separated from my husband just over a year ago. Currently he sees our children two weeknights from 5.30pm until 7.30am the next morning (about 3-4hrs) and we alternate Friday nights and weekends.

    My parents live in a town 200km from our current location and I'd like to move myself and the children there.I am undertaking a university degree online which is difficult but doable; however would be much better managed time wise for both myself AND my children if it were on campus. My son has been assessed as gifted and talented, something his father refuses to engage with and considers unimportant. I'd like to have a better range of choices for his schooling. The town I am in now is very small and has no culture at all. No art scene, musical opportunities limited to in-school or one teacher (maybe...if she still does it) who only teaches piano or guitar, no theatre, very liimited sporting opportunity (you pretty much have to travel 1-2hrs EVERY weekend if you want your child to be part of an organised sport).

    I have asked my (soon to be ex) husband to allow this move for us on the following terms: The children would spend weekdays with me, and all weekends and school holidays with him on the proviso that if he EVER needs a weekend off, I will take the children.

    He has pointblank refused and listed a whole bunch of easily addressed concerns. Essentially, it would be less convenient for him to remain as involved as he is. The problem with this is that the current situation is far from convenient for me...and I have dealt with that because MY CONVENIENCE does not trump MY CHILDRENS NEEDS. Also, as it stands, he is completely uninvolved in their schooling and extracurricular activities except for the fact that I inform him of everything they do and back him into a corner and force involvement for his sake and theirs in many cases.

    So, in fair is this situation if I end up being forced to stay here.

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