Stay in the Same School District & Live as Close to Your Ex as Possible

written by Fred Campos
Stay in the Same School District

[P]arents, divorcing can be a traumatic experience for kids. It can send their whole life into upheaval all by itself. Add onto that, changing schools, losing friends, and having to give up activities. It’s enough to give a kid a lifetime of baggage.

Aside from just caring more about your kids than what neighborhood you live in, staying in the same school district also impresses the Judge.

This really freaking sucks. Think about your kids. And also think about the Judge who is going to be thinking that you’re not thinking about your kids.

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Stay in the Same District & Don’t Move

Stay in the same school district and living as close to your Ex as possible is important enough for your temporary and your final orders. It is especially necessary if you’re considering changing custody later. Most judges do not want children to have to change schools / proximity / or lose some of their friends. So establish residency first, quick, and nearby. Once done, DON’T move around.

Live as Close to Your Ex as Possible by Fred CamposThe benefits of staying near your Ex can be emphasized by this story. James Newth, my attorney, has been practicing family law for more than 30 years and seen many dads gain custody. He tells of a father who was visiting his kids. When the dad dropped them off one Sunday night, he saw a house for rent down the street. He wrote down the phone number and sight unseen rented the house. He moved in, and was literally about a block away from his Ex. He unboxed his stuff, bought an Atari 2600, filled up the fridge with snacks and everything else for his then two teenage boys. The dad installed a basketball hoop, unlocked the patio door, and next time his kids visited, said, “I’m here, you can come any time you want. House is always open, bring your friends over.”

Live as Close to Your Ex as Possible

Even during times that were not part of his visitation, the kids were walking down the street visiting dad. Before long, the kids were there all the time. The Ex called him back up, long story short, he wound up getting considerably more time with the kids and became a custodial parent. That would not have been possible had he lived across town or in a different city.

If you want better access to your children, or if you are moving out of the house during divorce, or you are fighting for primary custody, you must live near your children and Ex. Down the street is preferable, but you absolutely need to reside in the same school district and feeder zone.

How do feel about living that close to your Ex? How close is close enough? Could you do it for your kids?

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  1. Helen

    This is such a sore spot for me. I am currently going through a nasty divorce, I had to leave where we were living, and move with my parents almost an hour away. Of course I took the children with me.

    Obviously, we are not in the same school district, and where I am living now, the schools here are better. Quality of life is higher here, its more quiet, ALOT less crime and its just all around nicer. He wants me to move closer to him, in a dangerous neighborhood, with lower performing schools… so that the children will be closer to him.

    MY thoughts are “Why doesnt he just move out here, closer to us?” but we are not really on speaking terms at this point. I do feel its better for the children to be in a higher quality environment. At the same time, I would think its better for them to be a little closer to their father.

    Its such a difficult situation.

    • FullCustodyDad


      I feel you. Custodial parents are constantly having to make difficult decisions. Here’s my take, which probably is going to help in your decision process… Did the kids change schools when you move in with your parents? If so, then absolutely don’t move again. The kids already got adjusted or started too, to the new environment. Moves are hard on kids.

      Has any domicile been determined in your divorce case? Usually one of the first elements is restrictions on where you can or cannot live or move. This is done to keep parents close together. In my orders, I am not allow to move out of county or surrounding county. Thus I’ll never be further than 30-40 mins from my Ex.

      I understand wanting better school and less crime, and those are serious considerations. But are they more serious than keeping a working relationship by proximately to the other parent? Probably not. Within 1 square mile of my house are the best and worst apartments in my city. You can live in a safe or unsafe environment anywhere.

      There are exceptional kids at bad schools, and terrible kids at good schools. A great deal has to do with the friends they pick and the involvement in activities you encourage. Trust me, I know–I serve on the school board of a fairly large district.

      So, which road do you take? It is indeed a difficult decision.



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