The father obtained a change of custody because the mother relocated from upstate NY to NJ to take a job as a law clerk for a NJ Judge.
The parents were married in 2009 and the mother gave birth the following summer shortly before she started her third year of law school. They separated in May, 2011 and were divorced in January, 2012. Their
settlement agreement provided for
joint custody of the child with the mother as the primary residential custodial parent. The agreement also said that relocation was prohibited without the father or court's consent. The father was a professor at Cornell. The mother after graduation in 2011 stated that she took the only job she was offered in NJ. The mother was initially granted temporary permission to
relocate with the child.
After the trial, the court decided that the mother did not prove that she had attempted to look for work as a lawyer in the Ithaca area. The mother was unable to testify as to any job she had applied for in the area of her residence. The father presented proof that it would be extremeley difficult to obtain comparable replacement employment as there were only a small number of openings in colleges across the country in his field.
The mother appealed the change of custody to the father and she lost her appeal. Other facts have been omitted.
This case while not creating new law shows that it is possible for fathers to prevail not only in a custody case but also in a case to block relocation and win a change of custody.
Custody and relocation cases are very complicated and require experienced matrimonial attorneys. If you are in need of legal representation whether to move or to block a move it is important to have excellent representation from the beginning of the case. Please call my office to arrange for your free consultation so that you will receive superb legal advice.