Q: Seeking a custody change
My ex and I have two children with 50/50 custody arrangements. This is to include sharing costs for all school, daycare, and medical costs, ect. He is also ordered to pay $156 a month in child support. Since our divorce was finalized, he hasnt paid any additonal costs and stopped paying child support over the last year. I finished college, and got a job doubling my salary, all while supporting them on my own. He often would leave town for work and I would have them for weeks at a time making the shared time less than 50% on his end. He also leaves them with family on his days. The job I got is in a city an hour away and I drive everyday. I have been dating someone for 3 years that lives in this city and we are ready to get married. Would it be fair to ask the courts to allow me and my children to move so I can be closer to work, get them in a better school system, give them a family life, and be more available to them? How do I go about winning this outcome?
A: A party needs specific court permission to move the children out of state. Generally, but depending on the wording of the current order, a party doesn't need court permission to move the children within state. That being said, if the move would effect the parenting time or exchanges, it is likely that you would need to file a complaint to modify to ask the court to modify the parenting time to fit the new situation. If you can prove that the change is due to a material change in circumstances and is in the minor children's best interests, then the Court will likely allow the requested change.
If a party is not paying child support or other expenses as court order, there are a number of enforcement tools. These can include a show cause/contempt action. For unpaid child support, you can also apply for child support services to help with enforcement for little to no cost to you. The child support office can do things such as suspend a driver's license, intercept a tax return, etc, to help collect on unpaid child support.
A: To modify your current orders in Nebraska you will need to show a material and substantial change in circumstances such that had those been known, a different order would have been entered, and that the change requested is in the children's best interests. From the limited info here, it does sound like the threshold for material and substantial change could be reached. The question then becomes what plan would be best for the children and fair to both parties and their constitutional right to parent? Your best bet is to consult with an experienced custody attorney in your area so you can confidentially discuss your situation in detail and get a sense of how your specific judge views these cases. Best wishes to you!
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