Dealing with an Angry Mother Who Wants to Move Far Away

After a divorce, your ex-wife might be very angry and want to get far away from you. Her reasons may be a need to start fresh or a desire to exact revenge on you. She may want to live nearer family or move to take a job. What is the best way of dealing with an angry mother who wants to move far away and take the kids with her?

This guide gives you options to consider. Based on your circumstances and the advice of your lawyer, you can decide on the best strategy.

1. Seek to Reason with your Ex-Wife

Hopefully, she isn’t seeking to deny your rights to the children, but has the best interest of your mutual children at heart. If so, you may be able to convince her that staying close by is a better decision for them. It will be easier to convince her of this if you’ve been faithful to your parenting responsibilities. If there have been some lapses, request she wait a few months, and if you don’t correct the deficiencies, you’ll understand her move. The more you are living up to your fatherly responsibilities, the more it might bring her to her senses. Or, if your kids are older, they may put more pressure on her to choose not to move. However, don’t secretly engage them to advocate against the move. That strategy might backfire in a big way.

2. Seek a Legal Injunction Against the Move

Lead with a mature conversation with your ex-wife about the needs of the kids. Don’t lead with the lawyer, but if plan A fails, hit plan B hard. Hire a lawyer if you don’t have one, and get him or her involved in the process. It may be that the divorce decree forbids either of you from moving far away, though this is rare. Reread the documents to see if this is spelled out. If you have joint physical custody, the court may view her move as contrary to the terms of the divorce, even if a move isn’t explicitly prohibited. Family courts generally prefer to keep families in the same area, so that the kids have the benefit of a relationship with both parents. With this particular child custody issue, the court may actually be on your side.

If she can’t be prevented from moving, ask the court to mandate that she pay all expenses to have the kids visit you at scheduled visitation┬átimes, or all your expenses to come and visit them. If you’re successful, it may make her change her mind.

3. In the Worst Case Scenario, Consider Following the Kids

It may be that she won’t reason with you and your legal options are limited. She might move the kids hundreds or thousands of miles away. What should you do? If you decided to move in order to be closer to the kids, you wouldn’t be the first great dad to do that. No doubt, this could be a complicated and challenging decision based on your work/career, local involvements and commitments, or the presence of your extended family where you now live. You’ll have to ask yourself if it is worth it for the sake of the kids, and let that guide you.

Regardless of which avenue you decide to take, recommends that you speak with an attorney so you are clear about your rights because each state has very specific laws that need to be followed.