In a 2007 Rockland County Family Court case, Mom and Dad agreed that they would have joint decision making (legal custody) of their minor child and that the child would primarily live with their mother. Now, the mother files a petition seeking permission to relocate with the child out of New York State. The Father files a cross-petition opposing the proposed move and seeking sole custody of the child. So, what started as the mother’s relocation case quickly evolved into a full- blown child custody matter.
The Court ruled that the current residence and school district would promote continued stability.
More importantly, The Court considered the best interest of the child and noted that at the time of the hearing the relationship between the mother and her teenage daughter had deteriorated to the point where the child was not speaking to the mother. The Court found that the daughter’s expressed feelings toward her mother precluded the mother from being the child’s custodial parent and granted sole physical custody to the Father, who is now in a position to receive child support payments from the Mother.
So, now the mother can move out of New York, just not with her daughter. Talk about winning the battle but losing the war! This demonstrates how important it is to analyze all the possible ramifications before commencing an action to change a child custody, visitation and/or parenting agreement.