[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.
The 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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