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Reproductive Rights

I am a mother of 3 wonderful sons from a previous marriage. I am remarried and my husband is working for a company in Seattle, WA. My children and I live in a small town in Southern Illinois. My husband has been in Seattle since August and I want to be with him. You would think that this would be simple.....WELL, IT'S NOT!!!

In the state of Illinois, if you want to move your children from the state you have to go to court so that a Judge can decide what is in the best interest of your children. I am the sole custodial parent and my ex does not even have legal visitation rights...I have tried to come to an agreement with him about visitation. My oldest son will be 15 years old and he wants to stay with his father. I was going to allow that, even though I do not feel that living with his father is in his best interest, but if I make him move, I'm afraid he will rebel and hate me. I want my two youngest children to move with me. I have had to retain an attorney, which is costing me a fortune!!

With my husbands new position I will no longer have to work outside our home and will be able to be a full time mother to my children. I am presently away from home 52 hours a week. We have two households that we are trying to maintain and our phone bills are astronomical. We are now further in debt than what we were before he got that position and I had to start a weekend job. All of this is because as a mother and sole custodial parent I have to have a judge tell me what is in the best interest of my children!

My attorney's are taking their sweet time in doing anything. They wanted my retainer before they would start doing anything on my case and when they received my retainer it took them eight weeks. The only reason they started moving then was because my ex kept my children and I had to get the police to assist me in getting them back.

I am not trying to make to where my ex can't see the boys, if that were the case he wouldn't be seeing them now. I'm doing it for a better quality of life. Do you have any advice in this matter. Are there any other mothers in the state of Illinois that is going through this? Please help!
Sincerely,
Melissa

   

Dear Melissa,

As with most questions I receive, I wish that you were writing under better circumstances. As far as I understand family law (I used to work in a law firm that specialized in domestic relations), most judges want what is best for the children. Given the situation you outlined, it seems that moving to Seattle might in fact be in the best interest of the children. Have you consulted your ex-husband? Would he agree to keeping the eldest son and your taking the two younger ones to Seattle? If you are in agreement and the kids are in agreement, I can't see why you can't take this to the judge and have him amend the judgement according to what you all want.

I also suggest that you contact Karen Winner of Divorced from Justice, this is both a book and an organization. Karen's national network could put you in touch with resources in your area. Plus, the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund recently published a brochure with the Institute for Equality in Marriage called--Divorce Planning: A Guide for Women--and you might find this helpful. I hope these suggestions help and that you are able to resolve your situation in a way that benefits everyone.

Good luck,

Amy

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