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BFSO is consulting the Advisory Board once again. This time we need to help a reader figure out what she should do. Below is her scenario and my response. We know the best advice comes from those who are living or have lived it. Please respond with open minds and sincere hearts.
Reader’s Question:

I’m a Mom and my ex-husband (in which we’re both remarried) have 50/50 custody. However, we live in different towns and my kids go to school in his hometown.

My problem is that my exes new wife is my children’s primary caregiver. She is currently housesitting for her mother, in which her and my children are staying there, but my ex husband is staying at their house. This is strange to me because my exes wife’s mothers home is in the same town as my exes home. My ex said that he’s getting a lot of work done while they’re gone.

I work from home and want my kids to live with me and go to school in my home town. My ex will not give them up. he says that their home is there and that their school is there. Although I agree that stability in the same school is important, my kids aren’t being taken care of by him. They’re being taken care of by their stepmom. (who is very nice by the way).

Should I take this to court since obviously my ex isn’t the one primarily taking care of them and I have the circumstances and great desire to have them with me?

What’s your thought?

My Response:

Hi Jakki! Thanks so much for stopping by.

I am sorry that you’re in this position. It’s tough when you’re really trying to make decisions based on what’s best for your children. I am sure that your decision to allow your children to remain in your ex’s hometown was based on just that [doing what’s best for them]. However, being cared for, primarily, whenever possible, by both of their biological parents is equally important. My questions to you would be: 1) How many days of the week do you get to see them as you stated that you share custody? 2) How many times a week does your ex actually have them since his wife is caring for them outside of their home? 3) Is there a reason why your children live with your ex in the first place?

All of those questions would definitely influence whether or not I would take my ex to court. But, just from the information you’ve provided above, if my children weren’t being primarily cared for by me or my ex, then something would definitely have to change. While I’m sure that your ex’s wife is a great person (after all, she’s caring for your children), I don’t think it’s fair to you, to her or to your children to have her primarily care for them; especially when neither you, nor your husband share a residence with them.

Here are a couple of options to consider:

1. Take your ex to court for physical custody as it’s almost impossible to have joint physical custody when you both reside in different hometowns. I’m not sure how old your children are, but they will adjust to a new school. If one is a senior in high school, then it might be best to allow him to finish out the year in his current school. Other than that, kids move all of the time, and they adjust.

2. You mentioned that you worked from home, so how possible would it be for you to move to the town where your children reside? This way, they could live with you, stay in their school, but still have unlimited access to their father.

I hope I’ve helped in some way, Jakki. I’ll repost this scenario so that readers will have a chance to respond as well.

Grace and Peace,

*Kela*