If you are a custodial parent, relocating during a divorce with the child. You must either reach an agreement with the other parent about the relocation or receive permission from the court to move away from the area with your child if the move will disrupt your parenting plan.
Is relocation a temporary fix in a divorce case when you have custody of the children? In this particular case, I represented the father of three young children that had residential custody of his children. During the pendency of the divorce action, my client took a job approximately eighty (80) miles from his current residence on Long Island. At the time he was embroiled in a hearing in Supreme Court. The case would decide whether he had the right to permanently relocate the children approximately eighty (80) miles from his current residence. Additionally, away from the children’s mother, who also resided in Suffolk County.
It is important to note at the time there was a Family Court Order in place giving my client residential custody of the children. The order set forth a visitation schedule for the children’s mother.
Due to financial considerations and the difficulty in finding a suitable job here on Long Island, my client took a job approximately eighty (80) miles northwest of his current residence. Although his wife was originally successful in obtaining a stay preventing him from removing the children from their current residence here on Long Island. It was not until the Judge made a final decision on the issue, that the parties agreed to a Temporary Order allowing my client to take the children to his parent’s residence where he worked for the summer.
At the conclusion of the first day of the trial which took place in August of 2013, and wherein my client and his mother testified, the Judge hearing the case adjourned the trial to a date in October of 2013 given the Judge’s vacation schedule as well as his busy trial schedule.
Realizing that my client would have to return to Long Island with the children to start school here, I asked the Court to remove the stay and allow him to remain with his children upstate at least until the Court made a final determination on the relocation issue.
After the Court heard oral arguments from myself as well as the wife’s attorney and the attorney for the children, the Judge removed the stay and allowed my client to remain with the children upstate pending further Order of the Court or an Agreement between the parties. During my oral application to the Court, I explained to the Judge once again my client’s precarious financial situation leading him to take the job in question and what would happen to him and the children if he was required to return to Long Island at this time.
The Judges Discretion
Although the wife’s attorney vigorously opposed my application, the attorney for the children supported my application. Hence, the Court granted my application allowing my client to remain upstate with the children where they would start school in September 2013.
It is also important to note that the Judge did not have to grant my application, especially given the fact that the trial had not yet concluded; however, based on the testimony heard thus far the Judge felt that it was in the best interests of the children that the stay that had previously prevented my client from taking the children to reside upstate be removed and allow the move on a temporary basis.
This is a perfect example of how an attorney is tasked with zealously representing his client’s interests even when it looks like the odds are against that client at that moment.
Child Custody Determination Laws
To touch on an earlier blog Child Custody Determination Laws, with respect to a custodial parent relocating with the child or children, I draw your attention to the controlling case of TROPEA v. TROPEA wherein it sets forth the factors to be considered in regard to this issue:
- Each parent’s reasons for seeking or opposing the move;
- The quality of the relationships between the child and the custodial and non-custodial parents;
- The impact of the move on the quantity and quality of the child’s future contact with the non-custodial parent;
- The degree to which the custodial parents and child’s life may be enhanced economically, emotionally, and educationally by the move; and
- The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-custodial parent and the child through suitable visitation arrangements.
Although the trial concerning the above-referenced matter was still ongoing, the fact that I was able to have my client move upstate, even on a temporary basis, and have the children start school there in September of 2013 gave my client a big boost in his quest to relocate upstate with the children permanently or at least until he chooses to change that arrangement.
This is also a perfect example of a Judge making an interim decision based on all the facts and circumstances known to him at that time and taking into consideration the best interests of the children which is always paramount.
Legal Representation From A Trusted & Experienced Attorney Phillip J. Jusino and Associates
Do you need legal representation concerning a divorce or Family Court matter? I invite you to contact my office to set up a free consultation by calling 631-588-3155. We have been handling divorce and Family Court matters for over 33 years here on Long Island. Check out Phil Jusino’s book about divorce and family law titled Divorce: A Practical Guide. The book can be purchased on Amazon.com.