A New York Family Lawyer said the issue of relocation first came in to the lower court previously when the father’s motion to hinder his wife from moving was rendered unsettled when a job opportunity that had precipitated her interest in moving did not come to completion.
However, after an extensive evidentiary proceeding, the court granted the mother’s motion to relocate and the mother moved to other country with her daughter. The father’s motion to stay the relocation pending an appeal was denied by the appellate division as the mother and child then remained in the relocated area. In a decision and order, the appellate division reversed the decision and directed the Supreme Court to fix a date for the production of the child in New York.
A Nassau County Family Lawyer said subsequently the Supreme Court, with the consent of the parties, determined that the interests of the child would best be served by permitting her to complete the school year in the relocated area. At a court conference, the parties acknowledged that the child was unhappy with her father about being forced to return to his custody in New York. For that reason, it was agreed that the child would return to New York in early July and that thereafter she and her father would participate in a series of therapeutic visitation sessions under the supervision of a clinical psychologist. The plan was to hold two sessions during the week following her arrival and two more sessions during the following week.
Pursuant to the agreement, the child was brought to New York during the first week of July and having no place of their own and with the strained relationship between the child and her father, the mother and her child were quartered in the home of her maternal aunt, along with some eight other relatives.
The child was interviewed by the doctor on her initial therapeutic visitation. The session was a disaster because the child wept uncontrollably in the presence of her father and her father made absolutely no effort to neither deal with the child’s emotional breakdown nor comfort her in any way.
Efforts to schedule further therapeutic visitations with the doctor during the summer as previously agreed were unsuccessful. A Nassau County Child Support Lawyer said first is because the father failed to communicate with the doctor until the latter part of July and subsequently, because the father choose to take his new wife and other children on a three week vacation in August where he stayed with his new wife’s relatives.
For the reason of aforementioned vacation, the father absented himself from the session of the court. The child and her mother who remained in the overcrowded home of the maternal aunt, did appear. The court conducted an in camera interview of the child, in the presence of her attorney, but outside of the presence of her mother and the two attorneys for the parties. During the interview the child described her experiences in the relocated area with her mother over the past year as well as her feelings and desires concerning her future.
In open court, the counsel of the mother indicated his intention to serve and file a new motion for permission to relocate the child. The court recognizes the imminent need to register the child in a school, the unacceptable temporary living conditions that the mother and child were enduring, the increasing difficulty of the mother remaining away from her job, and the fact that the father was going to be out of the country for most of the month. With that, it was concluded that the best interests of the child required that she and her mother be permitted to temporarily return to their place.
With the commencement of a new school year on the horizon and in anticipation of a new motion to relocate, the court sought to conduct a new evidentiary proceeding by the end of August, that is, as soon as the father would return from the vacation. Unfortunately, the three necessary attorneys were unable to agree upon a short adjourned date and the case was adjourned.
The mother and the child returned to their place. The child registered in school where she remains as of the date of the decision and order. During the provisional period, the counsel for the father served and filed a court order of prohibition in the appellate division because that court rejected the father’s counsel’s request for a temporary restraining order. The court was able to conduct a proceeding. During the pendency of the continued trail, the appellate division denied the court order on the merits. The hearing on the motion was completed and after which decision was reserved.
Based on records, in making a decision whether or not to grant a motion to relocate, the court must look with previous decision. On the outlines of a series of factors the court may consider the quality of the relationships between the child and the custodial and non-custodial parents, the impact of the relocation on the quantity and quality of the child’s future contact with the non-custodial parent, the degree to which the custodial parents 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 and it is beyond that the primary focus must be on the best interests of the child.
The father’s counsel has argued that the appellate division’s decision is dispositive of the issue of relocation and that the Supreme Court has no power to consider the merits of the instant motion. However, the court disagrees on which the appellate division’s denial of father’s court order of prohibition on the merits would appear to dispose of the claim. Further, the appellate division affirmed a lower court’s decision to grant a second motion to relocate, based upon a change of situation even though the appellate court had previously ruled that relocation was inappropriate. In reaching to the decision, the court has not only considered whether relocation is in the best interests of the child, but also whether the situation has changed since the order rendered previously.
The court decides that the motion to relocate the child is granted. The court also ordered that the father shall exercise parenting time on the second weekend of every month unless both parties agree on other weekends. It is ordered that the father must be available at all visits with the child, spend his parenting time with the child and not leave the child with other relatives or friends. If the father cannot fulfill the said terms he will forfeit the visit or make it up. It is also ordered that the father must notify the mother as soon as he knows when the visit/s will take place, giving her reasonable time to prepare the child for the said visit. The father must exercise parenting time with the child on Thanksgiving Day and thanksgiving weekend every year. It is also ordered that the child shall spend Christmas Day with the mother and the mother shall determine where she wants to spend Christmas Day. The child shall spend four consecutive weeks with her father during her summer vacation. The father must notify the mother what month he wishes to exercise during the summer as soon as he knows his summer schedule. The airfare and other transportation expenses for both the child and the mother shall be paid by the father for parenting time. Lastly, it is ordered that any other visitation shall be exercised as mutually agreed to by the parties.
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