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DK Says.......

October 29, 2009
Joint Custody and Living Distance

I always think I've heard just about everything when it comes to joint/shared custody living arrangements.  I know there are those that commute across town, and those that even commute across the country.  But what if you live just a few miles apart?  What if you want to keep it that way?  It certainly makes it easier if you have some kind of shared schedule where both Mom and Dad split the duties during the week where school is involved.  It makes it easier too if the kids forget something at the other house.  I had it added in my divorce agreement that if either parent moves out of the metropolitan area of my city, then they forfeit custody, and the parent remaining in the area becomes the sole-custody parent.  Now I thought I was being pretty smart and pro-active.  This would prevent either of us from picking up and moving across the country.  But the other night I met a very pro-active Dad who shared that he added to his divorce agreement, a ten-mile radius requirement.  Both parents must abide by living within a ten mile radius of one-another.  Well I think that was the best thing I've ever heard.  So great in fact, I think I'm going to contact every shared custody mediator and suggest they have people add that.  He had such a valid point.  There are suburbs in my city that are easily 45 minutes apart.  How inconvenient would it be if my ex decided to move 45 minutes away?  He would still be in state.  He would still be within the metropolitan area.  But suddenly if one of my kids forgets his gym shoes I'm in for an hour and a half commute???  Whoa!  Ten miles is reasonable.  Both parents can easily get to the kids' school or other house within a reasonable time.  Both parents can truly share in parenting time.  If you truly want to have shared custody, then I don't see how you can do it living any further apart than that.  And I know.........at the time you are going through your divorce, you think either of you would ever want to move that far away.  But it happens all the time.  Someone gets a new significant other and suddenly they want to buy a new house clear across town, and boom, it happens.  I think it is a great move!  If you are going through a divorce and really want to have shared custody, add it!  If you've already got the divorce, keep it in mind or have a separate agreement drawn up if you can.  It is best for the kids.  It is probably best for you too!


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