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Hello.  I'm very curious to hear from any divorced parents regarding child custody as it pertains to full time RV life.  I've been very interested in going full time for a while now.  Unfortunately, it's very likely my marriage will be ending soon.  We have a 4 year old son.  It's also become clear that due to my work requirements and what my wife has mentioned, that post divorce, we'd be living in separate parts of the country and she'd likely be named the custodial parent.  The end result of this point to me having my son for the summer and Christmas/Easter break on alternating years.  I've done lots of searches online for the legal aspects of this and all I've really been able to find is hundreds of answers that can essentially be distilled down to "the best interest of the child."  Does anyone have experience on how living a full time RV lifestyle can potentially negatively impact child custody.  I (as many people might) envision my soon to be ex-wife saying that an RV is no proper place for a child to live, that it's not a safe structure to be confined in, and that she really would not be okay with us not being stationary and having a permanent address.  I see it as a great opportunity to take my son to see sights, museums, parks, etc.  Unfortunately, I have a feeling a court would side with the anti-RV argument on this.  Any input would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you in advance.

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As one who is now a grandfather, I can only offer my thoughts as I don't have any experience with divorce, but in your position, I would want to be near enough to where my son was living to be much more involved in his life than just for the summer and Christmas/Easter break on alternating years. I have 3 sons whose lives I was very involved in and the reward has come now that they are well into midlife and Pam & I are in our late 70's. As I look back, I am sure glad that I spent so much time with them in their growing up years. 

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My son was younger than yours when I divorced and I can tell you that once or twice a year will not work. As he grows older he will develop friendships with others that he spends time with daily. A 2 week vacation in the RV might work but he is going to start missing his mother, his friends and his daily routines. As my aging mother used to say She liked often,  short visits. This hurts me just writing this bringing up memories, but any way you look at it this moving away in an RV and not seeing him for long periods of time is going to hurt everyone. You and your wife need to decide whats best for him and I dont envy you having to make that decision

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3 hours ago, Devilishjim said:

My son was younger than yours when I divorced and I can tell you that once or twice a year will not work. As he grows older he will develop friendships with others that he spends time with daily. A 2 week vacation in the RV might work but he is going to start missing his mother, his friends and his daily routines. As my aging mother used to say She liked often,  short visits. This hurts me just writing this bringing up memories, but any way you look at it this moving away in an RV and not seeing him for long periods of time is going to hurt everyone. You and your wife need to decide whats best for him and I dont envy you having to make that decision

I feel your pain Jim.  If only we could have a "do over" or two. 

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A lot depends on the law of the child’s home State, and the State where the divorce is filed, usually the same State. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJA)  says that the child’s home State is where the child lives or has lived for the past 6 months (to prevent parental kidnapping). Most Courts will look at “the best interests of the child” meaning a separate bedroom for the child, which does not exist in a motorhome or travel trailer. You should still be able to get visitation for short stays and holidays. All the above assumes that you and the mother can not agree on a custody sharing arrangement and the Court must get involved. Your best way of handling this is to negotiate with the mother and jointly draft your own custody agreement and not get the court involved. 

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2 hours ago, Twotoes said:

Most Courts will look at “the best interests of the child” meaning a separate bedroom for the child, which does not exist in a motorhome or travel trailer. 

Sure it does. You give the child the bedroom and Dad sleeps on the sofa bed. Lots of parents in small apartments use that arrangement.

Linda

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On 10/2/2020 at 5:45 PM, Maxtro said:

I'm very curious to hear from any divorced parents regarding child custody as it pertains to full time RV life.

 

On 10/2/2020 at 5:45 PM, Maxtro said:

Does anyone have experience on how living a full time RV lifestyle can potentially negatively impact child custody.

 

On 10/2/2020 at 6:51 PM, Maxtro said:

I'm not so much looking for legal advice as I am for stories and experiences of people who have gone through and experienced this situation.

 

1 hour ago, griffinmike said:

Why dont you ask an attorney instead of asking child custody expert wannabes????????

Asked and answered.

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15 hours ago, sandsys said:

Sure it does. You give the child the bedroom and Dad sleeps on the sofa bed. Lots of parents in small apartments use that arrangement.

Linda

That would not be a separate bedroom in the eyes of the court. I lived in a house and was willing to sleep on the couch and give my son my room but the court rejected that proposal. 

7 hours ago, griffinmike said:

Why dont you ask an attorney instead of asking child custody expert wannabes????????

I am a attorney. I practiced for 20 years in Calif before I retired. I did a lot of Family Law. And I went thru a divorce myself. 

You do need to consult a lawyer yourself in your home State and not rely on a public forum for legal advise in so important a matter. Most attorneys will give you a free half hour consultation. And with Covid-19 you can even do it on the phone. 

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2 hours ago, Twotoes said:

That would not be a separate bedroom in the eyes of the court. I lived in a house and was willing to sleep on the couch and give my son my room but the court rejected that proposal

You being an  experienced attorney I am certain you are I right in most instances.  It is just frustrating that  the system is set up to cause failure a lot of the time.  IE: When first out of the military I needed assistance with housing and since I had 2 girls and boy I was required to have a 3 bedroom which wasn't available and if it was cost more than I could afford. My kids were 3years, 2 years, and 1year old. In trying to help they almost made us homeless. Sometimes you can get a judge or someone in the system to work with you but in my experience it is rare.  In my extended family when they were let's say employeed but under funded sometimes  boys and girls that were in their teens even had to share a bedroom just divided  by a curtain or simple partition.

I haven't said anything as his plight pains me. I have been in a somewhat similar situation and I am so very sympathetic. I even had my kids for over 5 years and still lost custody of 2 of them.  I would say sort of in conjunction with what Kirk said that if you can try not to be more than about 1 days drive from where your child lives and try to work with the other parent the best you can. Not always possible I know and even if cordial at first can change at any point.  I will say that we are only hearing it from one viewpoint. It may be perfectly accurate or not so I always reserve judgement completely. Not matter what I wish the best for all parties involved.

Edited by bigjim
fix poor verbiage
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54 minutes ago, bigjim said:

In my extended family when they were let's say employeed but under funded sometimes  boys and girls that were in their teens even had to share a bedroom just divided  by a curtain or simple partition.

Life was different back before it became so litigious. I was 10 when I stopped sharing a bedroom with my two older brothers, ages 11 and 13. The closest we came to having any partition was chests of drawers at the ends of beds that provided a nook in which we could change clothes. We couldn't have been too broke because my father kept that house as a rental when he bought our new-to-us bigger one where I got one bedroom and my brothers shared another.

When I was helping with the census in 1990 I discovered it was common for two teen mothers to share a one bedroom apartment where the kids had the bedroom  and the mothers shared a sofa bed. Welfare paid enough to rent that apartment as long as two mothers shared it. I doubt there were any fathers in that picture, though.

Linda

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Maxtro has not signed in since his second post last Friday, so it is difficult to know if any of this is useful to him. He is obviously much younger than most of us on these forums. I wish that we could attract some of the younger RV owners, but for some reason we do not. As a result, most of our advice is probably dated and it would seem that things have wandered from his original subject. 

Max, if you should return to read more of this, I suggest that you would probably be better served by visiting the X-scapers pages and the X-scapers Facebook as those areas have many more people in the age group that might be helpful to you. In addition, Fulltime Families is another site that may be more helpful. I hope that you are able to find a way to make things work out for you and your son. 

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