After an appeal, the Family Court decision to deny the mother's request to relocate with their 10 year old child from New York City to Mississippi was reversed.
The parents were never married and lived together until the child was 4 1/2 years old. The mother's primary source of income was as a horseback riding instructor along with several other low paying jobs. Her annual earnings over several years decreased from $31,486 to $8,074 due to the closure of the riding academy and eventual exhaustion of unemployment benefits. The father during the trial was unable to state what his income or expenses were for several years nor was he able to estimate those amounts instead claiming that his income varied from week to week. The father had also previously been in arrears of child support and although he claimed to be current at the time of trial he actually still had arrears of approximately $2,200.
The forensic psychologist stated that the child had a healthy relationship with his father. The psychologist also stated that the mother did not interfere or badmouth the father to the child. The father's claim was that the mother still had savings and did not sufficiently show that she was without any income or unable to support herself.
The mother testified that her savings had and were steadily being depleted, that she could no longer support herself and the child, had sought public assistance and that she could not rely upon the father to timely pay his child support. The mother further stated that she had two job offers in Mississippi and that she could live in her mother's house. She stated that the father would be provided with transportation and accomodations when he visits. She established that the school would be superior to the current school of the child.
Based upon the trial testimony and evidence, the appeals court determined that the move was in the best interests of the child, was economically necessary for the mother, that the father was unreliable for child support and that while the move would effect the frequency of visitation that the mother was not going to interfere with contact between the father and child.
Custody relocation cases are complicated and require the attention of an experienced matrimonial law attorney. There are many court cases that both grant and deny relocation based upon the unique facts of each case and the submission of relevant evidence. If you are facing this issue whether as the parent seeking to relocate or opposing relocation, please call my office to meet and discuss your case. It is important that your case be handled properly from the beginning.