Avoid Creating a Situation That Could Lead To a Successful Gibbons Motion
Video Transcribed: You got your divorce decree or your paternity decree. You have the schedule you can at least live with. So it’s over, right? Not so fast. My name is Brian L. Jackson here with Dads.Law, I am a father’s rights attorney in Oklahoma. Today I want to talk to you about the final decree and final decree custody orders, and how they’re not really permanent.
This is something important to understand. When you get divorced with kids or you have a paternity decree, it is called a final order, so you would assume that final means it’s dispositive, in other words, everything is done. This is what’s how it’s going to be.
And once the appellate time passes, it’s done. Well, it’s not. It’s not. An appeal is one way it could be not done but assume for the sake of the argument that that time’s run. It’s not final, because if there is a substantial material change in circumstance that implicates the welfare of the children, that could be used as justification for modifying that order at any time if your ex-wife or children’s mother decides to file a motion allowed to modify.
Now, in the legal profession, we often refer to these as Gibbon’s motions because of the case they were filed under, which is Gibbons vs. Gibbons. But essentially, what it is, is you’re going to the court saying, “There’s been a change.
The current custody arrangement no longer serves the best interest of the children, and so we need to change it. And here’s what we need to change it to that would better serve the needs of the children.” This is a very common source of litigation in family court. We, family lawyers, see this, this stuff a lot. So, the thing to be aware of is it’s not permanent. Even if it says it’s permanent, it’s not permanent. Those custody orders can be changed.
So now that you have that knowledge, what should you do with that knowledge? Well, one thing to be aware of is that you want to avoid knowingly creating a situation that could lead to a successful Gibbons motion.
And some of the things that can create that if you have a lot of conflict with the ex, if you have a situation where there is any kind of a threat, violence, anything like that, that could lead to a Gibbons motion. Unfortunately, if you have a new relationship that you’ve brought around the children, that could lead to a Gibbons motion, we’ve seen it happen a lot. And if you remarry, that could lead to a Gibbons motion.
Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you don’t date, don’t have a girlfriend, don’t remarry if you fall in love. All of those things are things you as an adult male have the right to do.
But just understand, that could come with consequences where I think you can head that off to some degree, make sure that your kids have, to the best of your ability, make sure your kids have a good relationship with your new relationship if it’s going to be serious and you’re going to bring them into their lives.
Although, as a preamble to that, I would suggest, if you’re not serious, keep that person away, because that avoids that problem. Theoretically, I guess she could still file the motion if you’re dating, even if you never bring that person around, but it makes it a lot harder for her to do so successfully.
Then, therefore, would make it less likely because her attorney, the attorney she consults with, is probably going to be like, “Yeah, but you don’t bring around the kids, so how does this implicate the kids?”
Now, where it could implicate the kids is if you’re hanging around with people who, for example, are doing hard drugs, they have a criminal history, somebody unsavory, even if it’s someone that is not being brought around the children if that could potentially bite you in the ass because of the other consequences that could arise from that relationship.
In other words, you get involved in a criminal case in Oklahoma or getting involved in drugs, things like that, which would then implicate the interest of the children. So you do need to be aware of who you’re hanging around with. But I’m not going to sit here and tell you don’t date and don’t get married, I think you have a right to move on with your life, just don’t be stupid about it.
Yeah, if you’re going to bring the person into the children’s lives, it should be serious. You should do what you can to foster a good relationship. But by the same token, that person has to understand where the boundary line is. They’re not going to come in and be a mom. Because if they do come in and try to be mom, you will get a Gibbons motion and you will have a problem. So that’s something to be aware of too.
Now, if you are dealing with a situation where you know there’s going to… Actually, let me back up, I’m going to talk about one other situation that leads to these motions very frequently, which is if you relocate.
And now if you relocate more than 70 miles, you have to serve notice on the court anyway, and that will create a hearing where either the court’s going to authorize the move or not, if, well, I’ll back up. If she objects. You have to serve notice on the court, you serve notice on her.
If she objects, then you’re going to get a hearing, and it’s going to be essentially the same kind of thing as a Gibbons motion. And she may respond with a Gibbons motion. So, that’s the other situation, and that can lead to a motion to modify. So if you know you’re looking at a relocation, be prepared, because this could happen.
If she relocates, it’s the same situation. Unless you don’t object, in which case there’s going to be a modification by default if she moves anywhere real far, there’s going to be a hearing similar to a Gibbons motion and you’re going to have to explain why you think she shouldn’t be allowed to move, or why you should get the kids if she moves.
Now, if you’re dealing with any of these situations, you need a good lawyer. And in fact, if you’re looking down the barrel of a situation that is going to constitute a substantial material change of circumstance like you want to move your girlfriend in, you’re getting married, relocations, any of those things.
Or you might be the subject of a criminal investigation. That’s another one that can lead to a Gibbons motion, being involved in a criminal prosecution, then you need a good lawyer. And one place you can get a good lawyer is Dads.Law. Go to Dads.Law, we’ll help you out, because we believe dads are not disposable, and just because there’s a change in circumstance, it doesn’t mean she gets to sever you out of the children’s lives.