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How do I handle a situation where my son only lives with me in the summer and with his dad during the school year in another state?

I moved out of a tiny little town in search of work and found it 13 hours away in a different state. At the time, 2 years ago, I couldn't afford to bring my son with me (I have a very small family who are scattered throughout the country). Luckily, my son's father is active and was able to take him as the 'primary' caregiver. I have been financially stable and near graduating with my bachelors degree and I've been only seeing my son during Christmas and the summer.

Of course, I want to be with him all year! I feel that no one else could do a better job teaching him ethics, values and other important stepstones than I could. His father is a decent dad, but there are things that I really don't agree with.

Basically, I'm having a hard time with the decision, should I fight in court to bring him to the state I currently live in, which would take him away from the lifestyle that he has known for the last two years, or should I look at finding a job in small town, nowhere and moving back? I'm seriously stuck in this situation. My son is almost 7 and will be in 1st grade this fall. Any suggestions??


Asked by Anonymous at 9:54 AM on Jul. 12, 2011 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • I had the same situation and you really need to ask yourself as I did, Are you doing what's best for yourself or your son? In your explanation, I see a lot of "I and me", but little about your son's best interests. Please don't take that the wrong way :) I only say this b/c I've been there!

    Answer by yesmaam at 10:01 AM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • I think you left him once, and his dad is now the primary caregiver. The best thing you could do is support him where he is at. Kids are not balls that are passed around, and only taken when you are ready. IMO, you gave up any opportunity to be primary caregiver when you left.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:56 AM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • I think you would not be doing a good thing by taking him away from his father,, and I would be trying like hell to get a job where he lives at now.

    Answer by kimigogo at 10:02 AM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • My mom is currently in a similar situation, she did it for the schools though. We're in Florida and my ex step dad (my sister's father) lives in VT where we grew up and I can tell you from experience that the schools are significantly better up north and my sister is excelling there. As far as your son, talk it over with his father and with him. He is 7, he's not old enough to completely make the decision on his own but you can explain it in terms he can understand, tell him the pros and cons of moving and staying with Dad, etc. Chances are, he's not going to want to be uprooted and you may have to let it go until he's a bit older and can better understand. As far as the things you don't agree with, you should have a discussion with your son's father and express your concerns to see if he is willing to respect them and perhaps come to a compromise. You are still his mother regardless of whether or not he is living with you.

    Answer by Cassy924 at 10:07 AM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • My son has already expressed to me that he wants to live where I am and that he does not what do live with his father. I am just not sure where those thoughts are stemming from. I have tried looking hard for work closer, but it truly does not exist unless you are a farmer, mechanic or any other service job. I realize that we are all in a situation that I created 2 years ago, but that doesn't change what could be best for my son. I have fought with his father for the last year and a half to have him where I am, but his father is stubborn and angry at me and doesn't understand that I couldn't find a job there! Seriously, there is ZERO work. My son has friends in both places, family in both places, it's just very far. He needs to have the balance of both parents consistantly in his life. I do speak with him 5 days a week when he is not living with me. I'm hoping that there are some more experienced moms that can give me advice..

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 10:16 AM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • sounds to me like it was good enough when you left for your son because you need the "you" time to complete school and find that great job and know you want "your" son back ......get where none of this was about the CHILD it was all about you and the father.....i say leave him (the child) where he is because its been the most stable place for him for the last 2yrs....just add more visits thur out the ad in easter/spring vacation (so he gets to see you more than twice a year) and you can also fly out and see him at least every couple of months for a short weekend....

    Answer by cara124 at 11:23 AM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • He says he wants to be with you but explain to him the reality of moving. I have seen kids want to live with the other parent thinking it would be just as fun as the visits are and then are shocked to find out different. Also who would have the better school district? the education system should be a big factor. Also just keep looking for jobs in your sons area maybe one will come up just right when you need it.

    Answer by wheresthewayout at 12:50 PM on Jul. 12, 2011

  •    You want advice from experienced parents ok, all three of my kids have two homes. When their mother decided to leave the town we all lived we knew it would be difficult, but not impossible.

      We MADE it work, we worked AROUND the kids.
    So both of my step kids live in Portland Or, myself, the kids dad and their step brother live in Beaverton. Technically we are but less that 20 miles away. We have to go through the city of Portland to get to the kids. Traffic always a bitch always. We just do it.

     The kids go to school n Portland and that is were they will stay.
    You will have to make sacrifices to be with your boy. Might have to take a job you dont like..dont have to be there forever.
    Custody will not be as much as you want but that can change.


    Answer by Ihatelaundry at 5:07 PM on Jul. 12, 2011

  • My biological son is five. His daddy lives about 40 miles away. I have him on the weekdays and a Saturday here and there.

     IMO  the worst thing to do to this kid is to up root him. Not to mention his dad. He has been there for him, taken care of the things that you cant being so far away. His dad took on a unbeilivabley hard job being a single dad. It would be sooo ungrateful of you to take the boy after all he has done FOR YOU and your son.

    Think about the guys in your life...they are your family weather you like it or not. Don't be selfish, be patient and compassionate to them. They are not wrong to want you to sacrifice a few things if you are going to be a bigger part of their lives. Stop and think really hard about this. I feel you already know what is best for your son.


    Answer by Ihatelaundry at 5:22 PM on Jul. 12, 2011