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Court Rules on Petition to Relocate Child


This is a case where the court granted defendant mother’s motion for relocation to North Carolina with her ten year old daughter alleging that the circumstances have changed.
Because her parents’ marriage had failed even before she was conceived, the subject child has been raised by her mother since birth. The defendant is and has always been a good and devoted mother to the child.

A New York Family Lawyer said the child’s mother had struggled to make ends meet in New York, taking on as many as three jobs at once while attempting to make a home for her child. For most of her life in New York, the child lived in a home consisted of a shared room with her mother in a house owned and occupied by another family. Due to the damage to the house, mother and child were forced to move into a home with the child’s maternal aunt where living conditions were cramped and crowded.

Thereafter, mother and child moved to North Carolina where they lived in their own home for the first time in her life. The home is a three bedroom apartment in a development with a swimming pool. Mother and child each have their own bedroom for the first time in their lives. According to the court, the obvious sharp improvement in her housing conditions is an important consideration in assessing whether permitting her to stay in North Carolina is in her best interests.

The mother filed a petition for relocation to North Carolina with her daughter. A New York Custody Lawyer said the petitioner father opposed the petition arguing that the job opportunity that had precipitated her interest in moving to North Carolina did not consummate.

According to the Court, in making a determination whether or not to grant a motion to relocate the Court must first look to Tropea v Tropea, 87 NY2d 727 (1996). Although Tropea outlines a series of factors that a court may consider [“the quality of the relationships between the child and the custodial and non-custodial parents, the impact of the move on the quantity and quality of the child’s future contact with the non-custodial parent, the degree to which the custodial parent’s and child’s life may be enhanced economically, emotionally, and educationally, and the feasibility of preserving the relationship between the non-custodial parent and child through suitable visitation arrangements” it is beyond doubt that the “primary focus must be on the best interests of the child.

Mother’s ability to provide the child with such a significant upgrade in living conditions was clearly an outgrowth of the radically different costs of living in New York, as opposed to North Carolina. A Nassau County Family Lawyer said the defendant’s rent for their three bedroom apartment in North Carolina is $650 a month. Comparable apartments in neighborhoods in Queens, where both parties agree contain desirable school districts would cost at least twice as much, according to hearing testimony and Fair Market Rent statistics compiled by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Court stated that it is important to recognize that, while the instant application has been characterized as a motion to “relocate” based upon a “change of circumstances”, the reality of the situation from the critical perspective of the child is that this is not a motion to relocate at all. She is already in North Carolina and has been there for fifteen months.

The Court noted of the strongly expressed statements of the child herself, who intensely wishes to stay in North Carolina. She has expressed these views to the plaintiff father on numerous occasions. Indeed, she has begged him to permit her to stay.

Thus, a Queens Family Lawyer said the Court held that defendant’s move to North Carolina was economically necessary for the best interests of the child. The court opined that returning mother and child to New York would cause an economic hardship that would not be in the best interests of the child.

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