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Parent Looks to Relocate Child

A lady psychiatrist married and then later divorced her husband. Custody of their son was awarded to the lady psychiatrist and liberal visitation rights were granted to the ex-husband.
The lady psychiatrist re-married a civil engineer with whom she had two children aged four and two. A New York Family Lawyer said the lady psychiatrist shelved her career and decided to be a stay-at-home mom and raise her three children. When their son was six years old, the lady psychiatrist encouraged her civil engineer husband to find employment in Dharan, Saudi Arabia where the pay and the benefits were greater than his current employment in New York.

The ex-husband then went to the Family Court of New York to ask the court to stop the lady psychiatrist from re-locating with their son to Dharan, Saudi Arabia. He also prayed that if the lady psychiatrist insists on re-locating her whole family, then custody over their son be awarded instead to him.

The only question before the Court is whether or not the lady psychiatrist can be prevented from relocating to Saudi Arabia; and in the alternative, whether or not transferring the custody over their son to the father is a better alternative.

The Court held first that it is a difficult decision that it is asked to make. A New York Criminal Lawyer said first, a six year old child cannot easily be easily removed from his mother who has had custody over him since birth. Second, it is also difficult to allow the child to relocate so far away such that he is wrenched from his father. Third, the Court also has to consider the relationship built by the son with his step-father and step-siblings. The Court held that the best interest of the child is still the test that will be applied.

The Court determined that contrary to the child’s father’s assertions, the move to Saudi Arabia was made in good faith. The employment opportunity there proved more lucrative than his employment in New York. In Saudi Arabia, the family will have free housing inside a secure compound. They will be sent to a private elementary school right inside the same compound. The school is staffed with American teachers. When the children reach high school, the company will pay for the high school education of the children in a private boarding school in the United States or in Europe. The monthly salary is greater for the civil engineer in Saudi Arabia than in New York.

The Court also determined that the father’s employment was not stable in New York compared with the employment of the step-father. A Nassau County Family Lawyer said the father cannot raise his son in relative comfort as the step-father can.

The lady psychiatrist herself was raised in the same compound in Dharan, Saudi Arabia as her father worked for the same company. She spent a happy childhood in Saudi Arabia and she credits the excellent educational opportunities she received from the free high school education that was granted to her by the same company.

There may not be as many opportunities for cultural enrichment in Saudi Arabia as there are in New York where there are so many museums and theaters but the liberal compensation package pays for family vacation trips to centers of culture in Europe and the United States.
The father of the child raised the danger from terrorism that the child may face when living in Saudi Arabia which is the heart of the volatile Middle East. The Court has held that even in New York, the danger of terrorism is present after 9-11. That is to say, staying in New York would pose as much threat to his safety as staying in Saudi Arabia.

The Court decided to grant the lady psychiatrist’s request for permission to relocate the child to Dharan, Saudi Arabia but only after certain conditions are met: she will post a bond that will be in place until the son reaches sixteen years of age. She will ensure that the child is equipped with a telephone in his room so that his father can have easy access to him be telephone at any time of day. She will also have to ensure that the child has internet connection and a personal computer through which he can communicate with his father. A Queens Family Lawyer said the father is given visitation of three weeks every three months or a total of ten weeks for every year and the lady psychiatrist must provide reserved tickets for the child to travel back to New York to visit his father every year.

Are you like the mother in this case? You found better employment opportunities far away and you would like to modify the custodial arrangement but your ex-spouse opposes your relocation? Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates: their New York City Family Lawyers can help you file a petition for modification of custody. Their New York Family attorneys can help you prove that your relocation will not substantially deprive your child of the visitation rights from your ex-spouse. You need the advice and representation of a NYC Family Lawyer who can present evidence and argue in your behalf. Contact the NY Family Lawyers at any of the offices of Stephen Bilkis and Associates in the New York area.

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