Relocation – A Local Dutchess County Example

Relocation is one of the most controversial issues in custody cases. The Courts have held that “a parent seeking to relocate with a child bears the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that the proposed move would be in the child’s best interest” Bjornson v. Bjornson, 38 AD3d 816, and Tropea v. Tropea, 87 NY2d 727.

The overarching theme in any custody case is the best interest of the child, however, in evaluating a relocation request, the court also considers each parent’s relationship with the child, the effect the move would have on the non-custodial parent, and motives for the move (financial, educational, family support). “No single facts should be treated as dispositive or given such disproportionate weight as to predetermine the outcome” Matter of Maraj v. Gordon, 102 AD3d 698.

In a recent case from Dutchess County Family Court, the determination that relocation was in the children’s best interest was upheld where the mother testified the children’s quality of life would be significantly improved because the cost of living was less in Florida, there would be increased family support in Florida, and the father had minimal involvement in the children’s lives. See Davis v. Ogden, 109 AD3d 539.

If you are considering a relocation, or trying to prevent a relocation, please contact our office to speak to an attorney about your case.