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I am in Missouri. My ex has relocated my children twice this year, once in July and again in November. Each time she gave me verbal notice 1 week prior. (she's supposed to give 60 days written notice by certified mail). I'm trying to figure out how to file an objection to her moving the children, but I have not been able to find a form or the correct wording for the objection. Time is ticking since I onlly have 30 days to file the objection. I do not want to do a motion to modify at this point. I want to do an objection now to buy time until I will have the funds to hire an attorney to file the motion to modify. (Hopefully she'll end up having to pay the attorney fees after its all over) Does any one know where I can find the wording I would need to use? I've been to the UMKC law library and found pretty much every other form there is, but not any form or information on wording to use.
Thanks for any help.
I believe the proper response is the motion to modify.
The motion to get the court's attention, then you tell them what you want. At the very least you're requesting that the court prevent the children from leaving. However, to make a consistent argument to the court, you would also request the children stay with you. The reasoning is that you, nor the court, can prevent the Ex from moving, she's an adult and can do as she wants. But the court can definitely prevent her from taking the children with her, but the children have to be somewhere, so that's part of your motion. You provide the new parenting plan based on the Ex being moved away, including the Ex's parenting time that doesn't interfere w/school and the Ex pays for transportation as it was her decision to move.
However, the above is based upon the classic situation where the children are local and the Ex wants to move them out of the area. But you mentioned two previous relocations, so I'm wondering..did she move out of the area with the children already? Are the children already in a different locale than you? If so, then the strategy changes quite a bit.
The children lived in one house for last about 4 years (since original divorce). In July the ex moved them 15-30 minutes further away (traffic0 from me making total distance about 45min to an hour depending on traffic. In September my new wife and I moved to within 10 minutes of the children. First of November she moved the children at least an hour away (more during traffic) because she couldn't afford the new place (according to the children). They have moved in with her mother. She only gave me less than a week notice (told me Tuesday and moved that weekend).
I am planning to ask for primary custody especially since I now live in the same school district and neighborhood (across the street from their old house) where the boys lived until July. She has told the boys that she will drive them back to their old sports teams etc and that this move is only temporary until she gets back on her feet. But the only way I see her moving out of her mother's house is if she gets a boyfriend that she wants to move in with.
If she is not notifying you according to the terms of the decree, them a Motion for Contempt is probably the way to go, if you have your docs in order. That you didn't file this in July weakens your position a little, but it is a legitimate defense to point out that it was a minimal impact for the cost of litigating it (though a certified letter stating your objection and evidence of her too-late notification will help). The hour-away move is significant and you should fight this. I agree that you should have a lawyer handle the custody change element through the modification motion.
When I went to the courthouse to try to file contempt on her the clerk at the family law office said that its not a contempt issue, just a relocation issue. She then said that I needed to file an objection to her relocation which would turn into a motion to modify so to save having two filing fees I could just file a motion to modify in the first place.
I didn't file in July because it was a small adjustment in time and we were just starting to get along so I was trying not to rock the boat. So much for that.
(1) Did she or did she not violate the specific terms of the order? In other words, if it says 30 days notice, and she gave you 7, she violated it. If it says 30, and she arguably can say she gave you 30, as in mailed on or around that date, she gave you 30.
(2) Is the move changing your ability to interact with the kids, changing the time you can spend with them, creating extra burdens like cost, etc?
(3) Is the move somehow negatively impacting the kids, relative to what you could offer them? I.E., you both live in the same school district, live close to their friends, she is taking them away from that?
If (1) took place, your remedy is to file a Motion for Enforcement requesting a finding of contempt, even if the non-lawyer county clerk isn't sure about it.
On (2) & (3), you file a motion to modify. If you have a strong argument on (3), you are the better parent to keep them in their same school & with the same friends, and you might win getting primary. If not, and you are impacted by (2), then you will likely win either additional comp time, or reimbursement for the incremental costs associated with her voluntary move.
Pick 1, 2 and/or 3.
If you win 1, it will lay the groundwork for 2 & 3, and will potentially get you fees, and will at least, in the minimum, let her know she can't jack with you like that in the future.
If her move is to your or the kids detriment, the odds are good you will get either 2 or 3. And it is a given you won't get 3 if you never ask for it.
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