In order to escape foreclosure and unemployment in Long Island, Debra Baker is moving back into her parents’ house along with her two children. Her ex-husband, James Baker, is seeking unsupervised visitation of his children now that he is sober. A major hurdle to fulfilling both goals simultaneously is that Ms. Baker’s parents live in Venice Beach, Florida.
In the past, relocating children out-of-state may have resulted in a drawn out and ugly custody battle. Advances in modern technology, however, has allowed Supreme Court Justice Jerry Garguilo to come to a Solomonic compromise in this case, Baker v. Baker. He said Ms. Baker may take her children to Florida so long as she provides them and Mr. Baker with access to Skype.
Skype is a software system that allows users to make low-cost calls over the Internet. Both Bakers agreed to relocation conditioned on father-children Skyping. It is presumed that Ms. Baker will be able to afford Skype once she cuts her overhead by moving to Florida. “The decision marks the first reported New York case in which a judge has ordered a relocating parent to facilitate Skyping.” Judge Garguilo thought of this compromise after a two-day hearing in July. Mr. Baker will also be entitled to three weeks of unsupervised visits with his children to coincide with breaks in their school schedules.
This decision could establish a precedent of the law using advances in telecommunications to reduce emotional trauma. It’s also a good example of thinking outside the box so all parties go home satisfied.