I have been involved in a difficult custody relocation case. A relocation case is when one parent wants to move to a place that would make their current custody arrangement difficult. Relocation can mean a parent is moving to the next county or to another state.
In my case, I represent Mom who wants to relocate to Florida, because her husband is a member of the military and is being transferred to Florida. She has little family in Florida, although her first cousin lives nearby. They will move to a community with a good school district and Mom is a nurse who will be able to find new employment. On the other hand, Dad is a terrific father and shares physical custody of his 6 year old son. Dad has also remarried and has a new baby who looks forward to seeing his brother. Dad opposes Mom’s relocation request and is asking for primary physical custody if Mom moves.
The trial lasted two days. The Court found both parents to be loving and dedicated. Mother’s reason for relocating was legitimate and her proposed custody arrangement was satisfactory in that she offered Father the entire summer, every spring break and alternating winter break. Nevertheless, Mother was denied her request to relocate with the parties’ son. The court felt it was not in the child’s best interest to leave his family, friends and school. Mother must now choose between moving with her husband, but without her son, or staying here with her son, but without her husband.
These cases are heartbreaking and the court is forced to make the difficult decision. In this type of situation, litigation is necessary, because the parties are, rightfully, so very polarized.