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Child Custody Dispute Arises Over Mother Relocating


On March 2007, a father filed an action in court for child custody. However, the mother cross petition the action. Each of the parties testified in their own behalf and the father of the child called his mother to stand as a witness.

A New York Family Lawyer said that n the evidence and testimonies presented, it revealed that the mother of the child was born and raised in Florida, where she lived with her mother and father until her parents got a divorce when she was 17 or 18 years of age. She continued to live with her father until she was 22 and got her own apartment. On 2002, she met the child’s father, exchanged phone numbers and began talking on the phone a few times a week. This continued for a few months until they actually met in person when the mother came with a friend to New York for a vacation. The father testified that they met up one night to hang out and had a couple of drinks. After the mother returned to Florida, the parties continued to speak over the telephone and on May 2004, the mother invited the father down to Florida for the weekend. Their relationship started and became intimate. At some point during their relationship, they made the decision to have a child together.

In October 2004 the mother learned she was pregnant. That same month, the father took his two-week vacation and went to Florida to be with the mother. A Nassau County Family Lawyer said he also brought his daughter with him. The couple discussed the possibility of the man’s moving to Florida so, while he was there, he looked for a job in maintenance by posting his resume on a Web site and checking the local newspapers. At the end of October 2004 the mother was terminated from her job as a general claims clerk for taking more time off from work than her allotted annual leave. The man then offered the mother to live in New York since he had a stable job and home there.

Consequently, the mother moved to New York and began living in the man’s apartment with him and his seven-year-old daughter. A Nassau County Child Support Lawyer said after 6 months, the mother brought her 11-year-old daughter to live with them. After a month, the mother delivered their child. As the mother was not working, the household was supported entirely by the father’s salary and because of their expenses they never had a savings. Apparently, the mother began working in two months after the birth of their child. The paternal grandmother took care of the children.

The mother has no family other than an older half sister. The mother does not have any friends in New York aside from the man and the man’s mother. She has no one to turn to for emotional support. The father acknowledged that the mother’s friends were in Florida but said for reasons he did not know, she didn’t stay in contact with them. After the mother came to New York and became homesick, the father portrayed her as sad and withdrawn. The father offered to introduce the mother to other people and his relatives offered to take her out but she said she did not want to go.

In contrast to the lonely and isolated life she leads in New York, all of the mother’s relatives reside in Florida consist of her parents and stepfather, two uncles, an aunt, a grandmother, first cousins and their children. According to both parties, the mother speaks to her mother, stepfather and father everyday over the telephone.

Being homesick, the mother wanted to leave New York and return to Florida. Aside from the reason of being reunited with her family, the mother assert that she want to have a better environment to raise her child, to have the support of her relatives, to get a better paying job and advancement in a company, to be able to go at night to career advancement programs and to be able to afford a three-bedroom two-bath apartment. The mother believes that there are more recreational opportunities for her and her children and she would be able to take them more places in Florida. The mother testified that her wish to return to Florida was absolutely not motivated by a desire to deprive the father of meaningful access to the child. She said that when she and the father broke up in February, she just felt that the only place she could go is her home in Florida. She denied starting up a new relationship with someone in Florida. She also acknowledged that if she was allowed to have the child and move to Florida it would make it difficult for the father to have access. She expressed her willingness to permit the father to have significant visitation with the child by giving him a large chunk of time to spend with him including holidays and summers.

The father explained that once the mother told him that she wanted to leave and that they were splitting up, he came to court to file for child custody and to stop the mother’s relocation because he love his son.

The court made a thorough examination and inquiry into the facts and circumstances of the case and into the surroundings, conditions and capacities of the persons involved in the proceeding. The court also weighed the testimony, character, personalities and sincerity of the parties involved and the best interests of the child. The court finds that the father proved by a preponderance of the evidence that relocation should be denied. The court also finds that there is a sound and substantial basis in the record to grant joint custody of the child to both parties, with physical residence to the mother and regular and frequent contact between the father and the child. In addition, to day and overnight visitation, the father may speak to the child by telephone at reasonable times with reasonable frequency.

Moreover, based on the child’s chronological age and developmental stage, the parties should establish a visitation schedule for the father that will not create separations of more than two or three days. As the child has been residing in the father’s home, overnight visitation should be included in the schedule the parties create. The parties should develop a plan in which they share or alternate holidays and have the child during their respective vacations. Each parent shall provide the other with a current address and telephone number and will notify each other within 72 hours of any changes to this information. Each parent will immediately notify the other regarding any emergency involving the child. Furthermore, except for periods of vacation during the summer, spring or winter school break and day trips during weekend visitation, neither party may remove the child from the jurisdiction of the court without the written permission of the other party and If either party plans to have vacation with the child out of New York, an address and telephone number must be provided to the other party where contact may be made in the event of an emergency. Neither party with custody of the child may relocate beyond a 25-mile radius of where they presently reside without the written consent of the other party.

In a relationship, we can never be sure of the best moments at all times. Lots of problems could take place and partners could end up making decisions that can affect the interest of their children. If you and your partner encounter the same dilemma, have a custody dispute or need an order for protection, the New York City Family Attorneys can offer legal guidance. Somehow, if you need assistance regarding your child’s custody, the NY Child Custody Lawyer or NYC Visitation Lawyers at Stephen Bilkis and Associates can provide you legal support on the matter.

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