I thought Indiana had pretty tight relocation laws making it difficult for an ex to relocate with the children especially if Dad has significant parenting time, involvement and extended family locally.
I came across this case today that made me sick. Mom took a job 300 miles away and the only benefit listed was that Mom would be making 30k+ more. Mom apparently also moved directly into a new boyfriend's house. Dad has significant parent time, extended family locally and is very involved. Trial court IMO correctly ruled against the relocation.
The appeals court reversed the ruling as clearly erroneous and states that the extra 30k is a big enough benefit to the child to justify removing Dad from his life. Mom successfully swept the primary motivation of moving to be with boyfriend under the rug.
And the fact that they list that Dad had purchased a fuel efficient vehicle as evidence supporting the move is ridiculous.
Basically the precedent the ruling sets is that if you have primary physical custody you can simply locate a job with a higher salary and you have a green light to move away. This ruling appears to be a huge step backward.
No amount of money can replace an involved dad (parent).
The court should have given custody to dad, keeping the child within the same community with friends and extended family and had mom pay child support based on her "significant" increase to improve the child's standard of living. Problem solved.
The person who cares the least controls the relationship.
I'll be on the site checking for the official approval of the new parenting time guidelines anyway so I'll keep checking. Hope it gets reversed, but it's already over 2 years since their relocation case started. What a nightmare for the Dad, he did everything right and is still getting screwed. My bet is it will be moot very soon anyway as the son gets tired of living in a new state with the boyfriend and elects to move back to Dad's location.
mews wrote:Yes it sucks for the dad, but once the two sides are physically separated, there has to be a tough decision made.
The custody decision had already happened 2 years prior, and Dad appeared to have ~50/50 or better parenting time built up over those two years. In addition both sides acknowledged that Dad picked up Mom's parenting time when she worked extended shifts, so he had more parenting time than his decree states. Sounds like Dad was filling the primary parent duties while Mom merely retained the "primary" label. Applying a permanent "primary" label on Mom ignores the best interests of the child IMO, and completely ignores the near term status quo that the child has excelled under.
This wasn't a circumstance where Mom was indigent and required to move. In fact the evidence showed that she was "well-employed". The appeals court is also taking on complete faith that Mom can't find a similar position in Indianapolis as there is no reference to evidence of her attempts. I find that hard to believe in a large market like Indianapolis that is loaded with hospitals.
Even if you agree with the appeals court that a child is better off with more $'s and no Dad in his life, take another look at this statement:
“it would cause far greater upheaval to tear him away from his primary caregiver – the parent with whom he has lived for nearly a decade”).
This is a Dad that had 50/50 or better parenting time, picked up Mom's parenting time when she worked shifts as a Nurse, and the appeals court has the audacity to insinuate that Dad's house is just where the son visits. He really only lives with Mom. That statement should disgust any Dad reading it.
THIS IS AN ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT. CORDELL & CORDELL, ST. LOUIS, MO. Attorney services are provided by licensed attorneys in every state where Cordell & Cordell offices are located. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.
Joseph Cordell, Principal Partner, licensed in MO and IL only. Michelle Ferreri licensed in PA and NJ only. Offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, PA. Scott Hamerslough licensed in CA and CO only. Jason Bowman licensed in KY and TX only. Chris LaFrance, Florida Resident Partner. Tampa, FL.