In a case before Court Attorney Referee Juanita Wang in the Family Court of Queens County, a Mother brought a petition seeking to modify the parties existing order of custody and visitation of the child. In addition she requested the court to be allowed to relocate to Florida. The parties had joint legal custody. The Mother was the residential custodial parent. The Father had a specific schedule for parenting time with the child. The mother asked the court to modify the Father’s parenting time with the child to be supervised. The court found Mother’s testimony to be self serving but generally credible. The court did not find Father’s testimony to be credible.
The Father’s Mental Issues
Father tried to minimize the severity of his mental health issues. The court credited Mother in showing the Father’s mental health issues created a change in circumstances. This change of circumstance took place since the issuance of the 2018 order of parenting time. The court required this order to be modified and only granted the Father going forward supervised visitation.
Mother’s petition to relocate to Florida with the child was denied. The Court found she didn’t meet her burden of showing it would be in the child’s best interest for her to move to Florida and to eliminate the child’s relationship with the father.
Most custodial parents want to relocate to better their life or to obtain new financial opportunities. They don’t realize the standards the courts rely on regarding the custodial parent relocating has to do with how it will improve the child’s life not the parent’s life. If the relocation will have a negative impact on a father who is active in the child’s life the relocating parents might meet a higher burden of proof to be successful.
Elliot S. Schlissel is a divorce lawyer who has been helping clients in all aspects of matrimonial and family law from more than 40 years. Elliot and his team of Family Law Attorneys help their clients throughout the metropolitan New York area