Custody/Visitation...Across state lines
Custody/Visitation...Across state lines katiekieran: Hi everyone. My stbx came over tonight to discuss the options given for visitation when one spouse lives out of state. I came to Utah to support him while he finished school, but I am originally from Louisiana and will be going back asap. I still need to finish up my degree, and the support that I will need for all of this is back there. I am NOT leaving to spite him, and he knows this and openly agrees.
The problem is that our son is only 6 months old. I know that overnight visits aren't even a consideration until 18 months. My problem with all of this is the distance issue. I am not against my stbx having a relationship with our son, but I do/will have an issue with putting my son on an airplane and sending him away for weeks at a time. Especially when he will be 2,000 miles away. What if something happens? I would be unable to get to him right away. What if, because his father is leaving at such an early age, he doesn't feel comfortable or safe leaving his home for that long, esp. when he doesn't really 'know' the people he will be around. At least when the parents live in the same area, the child knows that home is so close, and they are familiar with their surroundings. I want to do what is best for my child. I really do. I can't help but think that uprooting him every couple of months would be damaging. Don't children generally want to participate in activities in their hometown, with the friends they are used to? I don't want my son to suffer b/c his father couldn't get over our difference of faith.
Do I have to stand for this? Is there something that would require my stbx that he should leave behind his life to come and visit our son. He is the one leaving me, and I am still trying to convince him to try to work through the religious issue. Even when he's out of school he plans on staying on the west coast so that he can be closer to his family. He isn't even willing to consider an offer that would put him closer to where his son will be.
Another issue is the religion thing. My stbx told me flat out that he plans on teaching our son about mormonism. Now, while most may think that would be harmless, I assure you it's not. They teach in absolutes. They say that they are the ONE and ONLY true church. He will teach my son about eternal families, and that he can't be one with me b/c I am not LDS. This church uses mind control techniques, and create a theology that tears families apart. I am proof of that. My hubby and I were happy and doing wonderfully until a month ago when I told him that I couldn't follow his faith anymore. I said that he was free to worship however, and that I wouldn't interfere. This wasn't enough for him. His church teaches that if he stays with me, a non-mormon, then his salvation is screwed and he won't get eternal joy. This is a very destructive belief system, and I don't want my husband to have the right to indoctrinate my son. Do I have any rights here/ What are my options? I am sorry this is so long, I just wanted to give some background as to why I have a problem with these issues. Thanks so much,
in_search_of: More than likely, you are not going to have the option to keep him from teaching your son about his religion (I hate to say it) the overwhelming standard on things like this for the judge is the "best interest of the child" so you can always attempt to make the case that its not in his best interest. however, more than likely the legal custody will be joint even if the physical custody is vested in one person. So that means that decisions are to be made jointly, however, if you can convince the court to give you sole legal and physical custody (which is not as likely in most cases) then you can generally stop him from teaching religion to your son.
Sharp: I'm going to offer you a really strong suggestion...Contact a lawyer in Louisiana. Has the divorce been filed yet? If not, even if your stbx is the one asking for divorce, I would be the first to file if I was in your shoes. Morality questions for the good of a child make things so difficult. The sooner you move, however, the more protection you will have from your home state. Let me explain the basics I know. Bear in mind, I am no lawyer, but I finalized my own divorce Pro Se (w/o and attorney). The legal state of residence of a child is where he spends the majority of the last six months of his life. If that is the state you file for divorce in, that is the state that will claim jurisdiction over what is in your son's best interest. If you feel your stbx's faith may be detrimental to your son, I figure your best bet is for that state to NOT be Utah (with a strong mormon population). I know it's scary because I've been there myself. My ex was arrested when my daughter was 6 weeks old, and although I loved him, it was in her best interest to be removed from that situation so I moved home out-of-state and retained sole custody when I finalized the divorce seven months later. My situation was much more drastic for safety concerns, but morality was my primary concern. I applaud you for wanting to do right by your STBX and son, but please think things over very thoroughly and very quickly to make the right choices. When it comes to raising your baby, often your gut instinct is telling you the right thing. Listen to yourself and as difficult as it is to do, turn off your heart from your STBX for a moment to listen to what your mind is telling you is the right thing to do. Hope this helps. :)