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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    4

    Default Can You Enforce an Agreement for a Parent's International Move

    My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Texas

    I have a 50/50 physical possession agreement and myself and the other parent are joint managing conservators of our 1 child together.

    Recently, I was asked to apply for a position in another country within my company. The expectation was this would be a 2-4 year posting and then I would return back to the US. It's in an English speaking country with high living standards. It has an agreement to enforce custody orders & support coming from the US and specifically Texas. Initially, I didn't seriously consider applying for the role because I didn't want to leave my child. I floated the idea to the other parent who was very supportive of the child having the experience of spending time abroad. I proposed that since this was a temporary assignment, our child could go to school in the US, then come to the new country for 1-2 years, then back to the US at which time we would go back to our normal 50/50 schedule. The other parent was amenable to this.

    After about 2 weeks had passed and I had interviewed for the job, I asked again to make sure we were still in agreement that we would have a 50/50 type arrangement while I was on this assignment. The other parent responded that they were very open to working with me on this and not to worry about anything. Another 2 weeks passed, and I was offered the job. Based on the discussions we had, I accepted it. About 3 months have passed since our initial conversation, and 2 months have passed since I accepted the job. During this time we've been discussing specific arrangements and logistics. I'm expected to arrive with my family (including my spouse and our 2 children, along with the child in question) in about 4 weeks. The other parent and I had a verbal discussion yesterday during an exchange and agreed on a departure date, as well as my agreeing to fly the other parent to the new country to retrieve our child at my expense prior to the start of school and allowing the other parent to stay at our new home for about a week prior to the flight back.

    This evening, I received a message that the other parent had decided not to allow the move for any length of time and that any visitation would have to conform to our existing custody agreement. I have already resigned my position in the United States and have already signed a repayment agreement with my company for the costs they are incurring to relocate me. In addition to that, rescinding my contract would effectively end my career because of the reputation I would surely gain.

    All of our discussions took place via OurFamilyWizard as was ordered by the court.

    Hopefully this is enough background for an expert to provide an informed opinion. My question at this point: given all of the steps I have taken based on the discussions I had with the other parent, do I have a legal argument that we had an agreement, and that my reliance on this agreement caused me to make decisions that I wouldn't have otherwise made? IE quitting my job in the US, expending money that I'd have to pay back if I don't work in the new country for 2 years, and not least expecting that our child would be joining me for 50% of the time that I'm there? Before I again obtain the services of a lawyer and the bills associated with that, do I have an argument here?

    Thanks in advance for any input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    671

    Default Re: Can You Enforce an Agreement for a Parent's International Move

    Unless your agreement is immortalized by a court order, it is not enforceable. A judge *may* use your documented agreement in ordering a modified parenting time order, but there is no guarantee.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Can You Enforce an Agreement for a Parent's International Move

    Thanks for your reply. I certainly understand that nothing is enforceable outside a court order, so I guess I'll cross my fingers that a judge will see my point of view. I wouldn't have taken any of the actions I took without the other parent's blessing, and it seems the rug is being pulled out from under me now that I'm past the point of no return.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    16,474

    Default Re: Can You Enforce an Agreement for a Parent's International Move

    Quote Quoting AnonymousTX
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    Thanks for your reply. I certainly understand that nothing is enforceable outside a court order, so I guess I'll cross my fingers that a judge will see my point of view. I wouldn't have taken any of the actions I took without the other parent's blessing, and it seems the rug is being pulled out from under me now that I'm past the point of no return.
    You will want to get an attorney to jump on this quickly, maybe even see if you can get it heard on an emergency basis. Most judges would not be very pleased with dad's double dealing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,521

    Default Re: Can You Enforce an Agreement for a Parent's International Move

    I'm curious how you are so certain that Dad is the parent who is reneging. The OP took great pains to remove any gender indicators. Admittedly you have a 50% chance of being right, but there's nothing in the post that says the OP is Mom and not Dad.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    16,474

    Default Re: Can You Enforce an Agreement for a Parent's International Move

    Quote Quoting cbg
    View Post
    I'm curious how you are so certain that Dad is the parent who is reneging. The OP took great pains to remove any gender indicators. Admittedly you have a 50% chance of being right, but there's nothing in the post that says the OP is Mom and not Dad.

    I guess the writing just sounded more female to me. My advice is the same either way so it really doesn't matter.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,894

    Default Re: Can You Enforce an Agreement for a Parent's International Move

    Quote Quoting llworking
    View Post
    I guess the writing just sounded more female to me. My advice is the same either way so it really doesn't matter.
    Mmmhmm.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Can You Enforce an Agreement for a Parent's International Move

    Quote Quoting llworking
    View Post
    I guess the writing just sounded more female to me. My advice is the same either way so it really doesn't matter.
    Interesting feedback

    I consulted my attorney from the last case and we're filing for a modification ASAP. The cynic in me is thinking this was all a ploy from day 1, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that perhaps this is just a cold-feet situation and the thought of going back to court will bring thinks back from the brink.

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