Question asked on Jan 09th, 2015

Q: Hi I will be leaving on a overseas contracting mission for 9 months as of now I have Primary Physical custody of my two children with my EX – wife and Joint LEGAL custody, I have the children full time as the mother lives OUT- of state she is allowed one weekend a month and 4 weeks in the summer, this is court ordered, she has moved states 4 times in the last 11 months we do not know her current address and has only visited the kids 1 time in the last 13 months I have emailed several times with no replay, my main question is how can I get the judge to grant my current wife ( has been in the kids life and living with them for 4 years) temporary guardianship while i am away? The mother moves from place to place has no job and I do not feel she is stable enough to care for them.

A: Presuming it is not in violation of your existing orders, you do not need to be physically present for your spouse to take care of the kids of whom you have custody.  The extended absence could prove to be a problem if a physical or legal dispute occurred between your spouse and your ex while you were away.

At minimum, you should have a power-of-attorney drafted for all necessary health and welfare custodial purposes.  A formal guardianship is probably unnecessary, since the children will remain in your actual, if long-distance, custody.  If you think a dispute is likely, consider asking the family court to explicitly order the spouse to act in your absence in advance, which should shield against the chance that the ex might make a scene in your absence.  For background, see:

You can file yourself through the Clark County Family Law Self-Help Center forms, or you can consult with, and file through, a family law specialist.

Marshal S. Willick
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