A mother and father had a son in 2011. They lived together from July 2011 until January 2012. In January 2012 the mother secretly moved to North Carolina. After moving to North Carolina she brought an order of protection against the father. The order of protection against the father was based on the father engaging in domestic violence against the mother.
The father brought a custody case in New York in 2012. The mother brought a cross-petition for custody at the same time. The Family Court in New York awarded temporary and legal and physical custody to the father. The mother appealed and the Appellate Division (an appeals court) dismissed the father’s custody petition and granted the mother’s custody petition for sole legal and physical custody. The petition also awarded parenting time with the child to the father. The basis for the Court’s decision was that the mother had relocated to North Carolina related to allegations of domestic violence.
Relocation cases are very difficult. Courts usually rule that the relocating party has to show that it is in the child’s best interest to relocate, not in the parent’s best interest. In this case, the court’s allowed the mother’s secret relocation based on allegations of domestic violence.