Child Custody in Virginia…
What To Do When… There’s a Move Coming After Custody Has Been Determined.
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Episode 24: What To Do When… There’s a Move Coming After Custody Has Been Determined.
Welcome to What To Do When….A podcast from real lawyers with real perspective, where we explore a variety of legal issues and scenarios. Each week we focus on a new topic and discuss What to do When, and if any of these legal scenarios ever happened to you or a loved one. With over 40 years of combined legal experience, our hosts offer their unique perspectives and insights on a range of real life legal situations.
Jackie Critzer 0:28
Hi, welcome back to what to do when a dummies guide to the legal verse podcast here at Critzer Cardani in Richmond, Virginia. I’m Jackie, and this is Scott.
Scott Cardani 0:37
What’s on the docket for today, Jackie?
Jackie Critzer 0:39
Today, we’re going to talk about relocating in a custody case after the court has already entered in order. So what to do when there’s a move coming after custody has been determined.
Scott Cardani 0:53
And we’re not talking about just so we’re clear, we’re not talking about the move across town like you hear in the Richmond metro area, you can kind of be in Chesterfield, or Richmond and it’s all pretty much Hanover kind of not a big deal. But always remember, if you’re gonna move at all, every one of those custody orders says 30 days advance written notice must be provided to the court and to the other party – prior – prior – prior to any move.
Jackie Critzer 1:17
Absolutely. And if you don’t provide 30 days advance written notice of the intent to relocate with the new address. It is a violation of an order, which we’ll talk about in another podcast where we talk about enforcement orders. But for enforcement actions, but you must, you shall, if there is an order in place, you have to give the other party in the court notice that you’re intending to move.
Scott Cardani 1:40
And what we’re talking about today is pretty much a big move. Where the other party’s visitation is going to be, or the other partie’s time with the child (parenting time is the new word) is going to be affected by the move itself.
Jackie Critzer 1:54
So situation where parents both live in the Richmond area, maybe they have some sort of a shared schedule. Or maybe it’s not even necessarily a shared schedule, maybe it’s an every other weekend plus dinner visits, sort of schedule. But to whatever degree the other parent is regularly involved with the parenting decisions and visitation and all of that. And then the parent who has the majority of the custody wants to move – they want to relocate, what do we need to look at first.
Scott Cardani 2:24
And let me say one of the things usually this is around a job, or orders, if you’re in the military or something like that. Normally, that’s what happens. Sometimes it’s just a whim. But the first consideration has to always be as far as the court is concerned. And if you’re gonna go to the court to do this, the first concern is the best interest of the child, not you.
Jackie Critzer 2:45
So your move for a better paying job doesn’t really count?
Scott Cardani 2:50
Yeah, even if, quite frankly, you know, if you’re gonna get 10, paid 10 times what you were paid here. And you get to move, say to Texas, and you got the best job, your dream job, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you, you’re going to be able to buy the home of your dream the car of your dream, your child’s going to be able to go to private school, all those things. It has to come down to what’s in the child’s best interest.
Jackie Critzer 3:13
And one of the factors. I mean, there are 10, right? The court looks at 10 Different factors when determining the best interest of the child. But when you walk into court and you say, Oh, but I have a great, I have a great job offer. And of course, I’m going to take it and I’m going to take the child with me. And the court says Well, that’s not even that’s not even the first step and the analysis, the first question is, is it in your child’s best interest? So the court is really going to analyze the relationship between the child and each parent at this point, and figure out if and how a move really by either parent is going to impact the parenting time, secondarily to the child’s impact.
Scott Cardani 3:52
And it doesn’t even matter and a lot of people get this wrong and say I am the other every other weekend Dad, that’s all I see him is every other weekend. I don’t even do the Wednesday visitation. We tend to think as the primary custodian, that doesn’t matter, I should be able to move he’s only just losing 26 visits a year. Big deal. It matters. It matters to the court. Let’s put it that way.
Jackie Critzer 4:15
So really, the best way to handle it is to come up with a solution or at least try to the other parent might not receive it well. But sometimes we work we try to work towards solutions that sound a lot like okay, well I’m gonna move far enough away that weekend visist don’t make sense. And so let’s do you know extended holiday visits and let’s maybe change custody in the summertime. We’re the one parent then has the the child or children for the summer instead of every other weekend during the school year. But there are ways to be creative, and that’s certainly something that the courts going to try to do. But in our experience, you and the other parent are going to be more creative and probably more satisfied with the solution you come up with than the solution the court comes up with.
Scott Cardani 4:59
So we’re talking about compromise. You know, sometimes in these situations, the best rule of thumb is figuring out a way that you can compromise to get accomplish what you want to accomplish without basically saying to the other party Screw you. Tou know, are too bad for you. Or whatever, what vernacular you use. But basically, that’s what the courts looking at. And sometimes these can totally be worked out between the parties, the court doesn’t have to be involved in the analysis at all. Just say, for instance, Jackie wants to move, and she comes to me and says, Hey, I gotta move to Texas. My orders just came in from the military. I would like to get I mean, I would have to go and I would like to take bobby with me. And I’m being the nice benelovant guy. I say, Sure. How can we work that out? And her and I work out agreement, I get the summers, you know, I’m happy with that. And, you know, we get an extended holiday over the Christmas time or something like that. So it’s not something broken up spring break. And Jackie graciously says, I’ll pay to transport them our here and I’ll get them to you. That can work out in the parties. Can we see that all the time where parties just work it out. I would suggest if you work something out like that you do put it in the form of an order. So it doesn’t, it’s there. It’s written and everybody has to agree to it. I wouldn’t just willy nilly do that. But it’s really easy to get can come to us and say, Hey, we already work this out. Can you draft a consent order putting the court in the courts routinely signed consent orders.
Jackie Critzer 6:19
Sure, well, and the court is going to be reluctant to take significant time away from a parent who wants to be involved. Unless there’s some reason the parent ought not be involved. We’re really not talking about acts of abuse or prior a history of abuse. We’re not really talking about oh, but that person drinks in those drugs. And why can’t I move? We’re talking about these, like Scott said, run of the mill. And they are believing a lot of people move, right, just because you live in the Richmond area or in Virginia now doesn’t mean that’s where you want to stay. And a lot of people have family outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia. And that is the reason I hear a lot from other folks is that it’s not necessarily a job, it’s that their support system is outside of Virginia, they moved here for their spouse, that relationship has deteriorated. Either they broke up or divorced or in the process of divorcing, maybe they never married. But they did end up having a child or children. And they maybe are the lower earner. And so leaving their lower income job is not a big deal in comparison to being close to their support system, their family and friends. And they’ve known a lot longer than the folks they’ve known here in Virginia. So while they would have a support system, and that would benefit them, like a higher paying job typically is going to benefit a child. Those are still more benefits for the parent than they are for the child. But it all sort of goes into a bowl together. But who’s the right person to make that analysis?
Scott Cardani 7:49
This is why you know, we have Critzer Cardani want to sit down with you and talk to you about your individual situation because your individual facts, your individual circumstances, and the circumstances around your life matter. And in crafting the right kind of either compromise or petition to the court and all those things really matter. Knowing that detail having someone listened to you. One thing we always say if somebody’s on a relocation case, you go to an attorney sounds no problem, we’ll just file a motion of the court, you’ll get it no problem, slam dunk, you should be scared, you should be very afraid because it’s not ever a slam dunk. Unless the ice of course, unless you already have an agreement of the other side, then it’s a slam dunk. But I mean, that’s the rarity, and having somebody look at your circumstances. And one of the things I want to say again, is this sounds so weird, but say I’m the primary custodian I’m at I don’t know, I’m in the Navy. And I’m here stationed in this area, where I’m at Fort Lee, and I get orders, and I have to go to Hawaii. And I’m like thinking, Well, of course John has come with me. He’s lived with me since he’s been born. I stopped the analysis. And it seems wrong in some respects, especially to our you know, mothers really get like that when mothers have had custodian customers all the time, like, well, he’s always been with me, why would he ever, you we have to realize that it’s not that simple. Just because your boss said you had to move or your country said you have to move doesn’t mean the child gets to move with you. The courts not going to stop you from moving right. But they may not allow you to take the child and that’s the thing that you we really have to walk through, talk through and figure out a plan. And in doing that, one of the things I always tell people, the circumstances that Jackie just reiterated, say it is about family and structure and support systems all that you can turn that into a best interest of the child analysis. Sure you can you can say my child doesn’t have to be in daycare anymore. My My mother is going to take care of him that’s a benefit to both parents because he doesn’t have to pay as much in child support because you know, child support that factor of of day care comes into the calculation and raises spousal support. Child support sorry, there’s all these factors but it may be it’s more secure environment here you’re going living on the street corner trying to make ends meet and now you have a place to live. And Grandma, grandma has a seven bedroom home and you you get two bedrooms and downstairs apartment and all those things right? That’s definitely Johnny’s best interest to have a stable home. Yes, a roof over his head and all those things. So our point is this. Come talk to us sit down, it may seem at first, like it’s either a slam dunk, or it may seem like at first that it’s an impossible hurdle. And neither may be true. You need to sit down with somebody who does this for a living, who will be honest with you and walk you through the process and come up with the best possible solution or the best possible plan to try or to attempt to get it to get that custody transferred.
Jackie Critzer 10:43
Absolutely. So what happens if you do move? Does that mean that the court order then goes with you to the new place? That’s perhaps another topic for a different podcasts, but be on the lookout for it. So where where the order is from and how to get it moved? And where is it enforceable? Really an important important concept that we’ll address another podcast.
Scott Cardani 11:06
Always three takeaways. Best Interest of the child matters in relocation cases…
Jackie Critzer 11:12
You’re going to compromise in a relocation case. You’re going to compromise the other side’s going to compromise and walking into the case with the understanding that compromises a part of the narrative is important.
Scott Cardani 11:23
And finally finding the right lawyer, somebody who’s going to listen to your situation and craft something that uniquely benefits you is so important.
Jackie Critzer 11:32
Thanks for listening today. Be sure and like and subscribe, and tune into our next podcast.
Scott Cardani 11:38
Thank you very much.
What To Do When…Legal Chat Podcast Outro 11:40
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We look forward to helping you in this venture and Good Luck!