Thursday, February 6, 2014

NEW YORK DIVORCE - CHILD CUSTODY REQUEST TO RELOCATE

An email I received alerted me to the following decision from the Appellate Division, Second Department which illustrates the proof necessary where one parent seeks to relocate:

Christy v. Christy

These points were made by the court about the proof needed to establish, prima facie, that a proposal to relocate to with the subject children was in their best interest:

1. The petitioner Mother "failed to provide sufficient proof that the move would enhance the children's lives economically."

2. "The mother also provided no evidence that the lives of the subject children would be enhanced emotionally by the move. There was no testimony regarding how the children felt about the proposed move, in terms of how they believed it would affect their relationship with their father or any of their friends. In fact, there was no evidence as to whether the subject children even desired to move."

3. "The mother failed to show that the relationship between the subject children and the father could be preserved through suitable visitation arrangements, particularly given her financial circumstances."

My view of this decision: the court is telling parents that this evidence is needed to establish a prima facie case but does not guarantee that the application will be granted.. Once a prima facie case is established this, the burden of proof shifts to the other parent who can present evidence to establish that the relocation is not in the best interests of the children.

A thank you to Daniel E. Clement for the email.

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