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Stay at home mother wanting to leave MA with kids after divorce

I am a stay at home mother. We moved to MA a few years ago for a job transfer. Our family lives in the south. For many reasons I am trying to educate myself on the MA Law for divorce and custody. My entire life is with my children. We have no support here as far as family or close friends. So, there isn't an option for me to take the kids and leave for a few days/months, etc and stay locally. The only support I have is in the other state with my family.
If I were to leave with the kids to another state... (I know the divorce could only be filed in MA because of the 6 month residency requirements), But what my primary concern is what is the common judgement given in MA for custody when the wife wants to move to another state with the kids? I am the total caregiver, other than financially. I could go into details, but I am sure you have seen this type of situation before.

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Submitted Tue, 06/18/2013 - 14:56

If you are already divorced: chapter 208, s. 30 states that if the Mass Probate Court has jurisdiction over the kids, they cannot be removed from the Commonwealth without the consent of both parents or by order of the court for "cause shown." "Cause shown" means that the removal must be shown to be in the "best interests of the children." Unless the kids are old enough to consent.

If you are not yet divorced: the Commonwealth would likely make you return and/or make the children return to Massachusetts once your spouse files for divorce in Massachusetts. So this would accomplish little.

The concern is that if you were to leave to another state, you would frustrate the visitation rights of the other parent. More details would help shed light on the situation - even if it seems like we've seen every situation imaginable, each set of facts is slightly different and could require different answers.

My primary concerns are:
1. the judge making me stay in massachusetts forever with the kids. Because I can't personally afford to live here and I have no help (family). We met, married, and all our family lives.. in the south. Where I would like to move.
2. i don't get custody. It sincerely gives me anxiety imagining how the kids would function if he was solely responsible for their daily care.

We are currently married, living in one house but different bedrooms for several months. I am unhappy, he is unhappy. He seems to think it is better for our children to continue to live in this arrangement. Even though he has extreme anger management issues which i believe are a result to this arrangement.

We have had a couple of "what next" conversations which i kind of think based on what he said, that the thought of child support and/or alimony scares him and renders himself "screwed" -- so he would rather stay living together.

Which starts the whole cycle over again of having a conversation, things are quiet for a bit, then a fight over something petty, and then tension again. I am getting tired of the cycle.

I am researching my options. As a stay at home mother (and a single car household) I don't have the financial resources to be in control of this situation the best I wish for. So, I can at least prepare myself for available options.

I am curious as to the trends with judgments on cases where the mother is allowed to leave the state with her children.
My husband work also requires him to leave the state 1 to 2 weeks a month. So, I am already, basically, a single parent.. with a frustrating roommate.

Thank you for any guidance or help in this area.

Dear unsure: Boston Prorate [atty.] gave you some information, but I think I can make things a bit clearer. I'm assuming you are still married and considering divorce, and wanting to return to the area where your family resides. This is not an uncommon situation, and there are provisions in the law that address it. The legal term is removal of the children from Massachusetts; and it can be accomplished in the context of a divorce proceeding or by a separate court action after the divorce. If you have strong family and social ties in another state, you need to seek court authorization to remove the children from Massachusetts to that other state. The standard of proof to the court is that you (the soon to be ex-spouse) will be able to have a considerably better life in that other setting, and hence the children will have a better life with you. The factors that contribute to this would be supportive family members, familier social contacts, more affordable cost of living, etc. Other provisions in the divorce, like child support and visitation will be different than the usual. Child support payments may be less to allow the other parent the funds to transport either himself or the children for visits, and visitation may be for longer periods during the childrens' school vacations and summer breaks. Other arrangement may be made for specific telephone or skype interactions with the other parent. Your best course of action is to seek out an experienced family law attorney who has handled removal cases and do your best to negotiate with your spouse to an end that is best for you and the children that considers and values the role of the father in the childrens' lives too. Good luck

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