Ex-wife is primary custodian but we have Shared Joint Legal Custody. We live in GA. 2 yrs ago, May 2010, she files for divorce and moves back home 2 hours away. I follow and move a mile away from S5's daycare and her residence. In Aug 2011, she takes a job as a Pre-K teacher in neighboring county and my son attends Pre-k there. So, I now have to drive 20 miles/30mins one way every morning-afternoon I drop off or pick some up from school (6 days/mo). Now, she has taken a job as a Kindergarten teacher at a different neighboring county and my drive time will increase now to 35 miles and 45 mins one way. She will stay in her current county of residence (1 mile from my house) and make the drive every day. She thinks I should be willing to do the same.
Can I file for change in custody/visitation
You may be able to file for a change of custody/visitation if these changes are a material change of circumstances affecting the best interest of the child. If she is changing the child's school as he is moving into a new level of schooling (i.e. daycare to pre-k, pre-k to elementary school), it may be difficult to argue that she is doing anything wrong or unnecessary. That said, who has the education tie-breaker in your joint custody arrangement makes a big difference. If you have joint legal custody, she should be discussing any changes to your son's education with you in advance and taking your input into account. If she has the tie-breaker, then she would have the final say. If you have the tie-breaker or she is making decisions completely without your input, you may have a contempt case.
I do not know all of the details of your case, so it is difficult to say whether or not you have the grounds to file for a custody modification or whether or not you would prevail. It is really up to you to decide. Good luck in your decision!
While an extra 30 minute drive may be inconvenient, that alone likely is not a reason to change custody. Having said that, we lack the details (such as who is the final decisionmaker in your parenting plan, was the job change reasonable, the quality of the schools, etc), and you may want to meet with your lawyer to review those details.
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You can only qualify for a change of custody if you are able to show that there has been some significant change of circumstances that make the custody change necessary. Thus, if you believe that this is "significant", you can request a custody modification.
You can request a change in visitation at any time that such a change is deemed necessary as long as you have not requested a change in visitation within the last two (2) years.
I hope this answers your question.
~ Kem Eyo
The above answer is a general explanation of legal rights and procedures. It does not constitute legal advice. Nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between the individual posting the question and the attorney providing the answer.
As other attorneys have pointed out, without seeing the exact language of your Final Decree answering your question specifically will be impossible. I strongly advise you to contact an attorney to discuss your possible avenues if you desire to seek a custody modification. Be sure to bring all of your original custody papers for the attorney to review. Best Regards.
The information provided is only a general answer based on the limited facts stated in the question. This answer does not in any way constitute an attorney-client relationship. Should you wish to hire an attorney, our firm, Singleton & Singleton, LLC, would be glad to help, as we offer legal advice in family and criminal law (in addition to personal injury, medical malpractice, social security, workers compensation, and unemployment benefits). Feel free to contact our office at 770-227-5300 or visit our website at www.singletonandsingleton.com.
These facts standing alone will not likely give you a good cause for a change of custody action.
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