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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
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The mother of my children moved from New Jersey to the North

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The mother of my children moved from New Jersey to the North East (Frankford Area) of Philadelphia. She tried to keep this move from me, however I found out from my 12 year old daughter who did not want to move there. I asked her and she said yes she was moving. I explained to her she could not without my consent or a court order. I explained it was a bad move due to higher crime rate and lower school system. I filed an emergent order which was declined. I made a motion for residentual custody forming the picture of higher crime rate and schools being rated 1 out of a 10. Her response was brief, her only reason for the move was cheaper rent. She turned in her response a day late and I responded in the time frame that I was allowed. Then she turned in another response saying she was moving back to New Jersey to live with her mother. She has moved 5 times and changed 4 school disctricts in the last 6 years. Even though she claims to be moving back to New Jersey I am still going forward with my motion to have residentual custody due to her not being stable (moving from place to place). What are my chances of winning?
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns. I happen to be licensed in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Beyond her moving back and forth, what other 'fitness' or 'unfitness' characteristics does she possess? What about yourself, how fit or unfit are you in the eyes of the court? What is the current custodial split? Due to the move, has your daughter's grades suffered or you do not know?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My girls are very often taking care of themselves. Making dinners and such. They also go days even a whole week without taking a shower or brushing their teeth due to their mother's lack of enforcing those behaviors. They just moved at the very end of the school year, so school has not been affected yet. However she does not help them with their school work at all. Before moving to Philadelphia she would take them there to see her friend and keep them out late on school nights, several times a week. I have been very stable and "fit". I have visitation with my girls equalling 43% of the year. I get them every Friday night until Monday morning unless Monday is a holiday then I keep them until Tuesday morning. I also have other days during the year.

Thank you for your follow-up, Jerry.

Has CPS ever been involved in this case before? When was this order put in place pertaining to visitation? Did you file for greater rights in the past, and if so, how long ago?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No CPS has not been involved. The order was originally done in our divorce in 2007, since we have modified it between ourselves. I agreed to pay a little more in support in 2010. We switched the days due to school in 2008.

Thank you for your follow-up.

The courts tend to follow the 'best interest' of the children standard whenever they make a decision or determination of custody. One of th largest factors of this 'best interest' is the 'fitness' of parents. The courts look to a variety of factors including but not limited to: XXXXX XXXXX abuse or neglect, domestic violence, drug use, alcohol abuse, mental illness, criminal history/record/parole/probation, moral turpitude, and characteristics of the proposed him. If this person keeps moving, then you would arguably have a basis to claim there are legitimate concerns both for characteristics of where she resides and the safety issue, and potential neglect concerns you touched upon above. The courts can look upon you as the more stable party and grant you greater rights, but if the only concern you have is excessive moving, that might not quite be enough to convince the judge that you are the better parent. I am not stating that the judge will not find in your favor, but so far your basis to demand custody appears to be somewhat sparse. If you can find evidence that the other child is adversely affected by the moves, or that the child may want to live with you (as the courts can take that into consideration), then your claim would get stronger in court.

Good luck.

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