In a divorce action, a mother sought leave of court to relocate with her minor child from Connecticut to California against the wishes of the child’s father. This case serves as an ample example that in determining the best interests of a child, the well-being of the parent is of notable consideration.
The plaintiff mother and defendant father were married in June 2004 and made plans to have a family together. During the final week of her pregnancy, the mother found out that the father had engaged in a prolonged extramarital affair, which began prior to her becoming pregnant. In the wake of this discovery, the mother heavily relied on her family, who travelled from San Jose, California, to be with her, for emotional support in picking up the pieces of her life following the breakdown of her marriage. The mother had no family and few friends in Connecticut, in stark of the support network she had in San Jose, and she indicated she would be far happier if she were allowed to relocate.
The Court’s Decision
The guardian ad litem (guardian) recommended against relocation, citing the child’s very young age (one year) and developmental concerns if he were separated from the father, such as attachment difficulties. However, the court noted that the guardian failed to consider that what is important for the psychological well-being and happiness of the primary custodial parent to relocate is equally important for the wellbeing of the child. This latter view was echoed by the family relations officer.
The court agreed that it was essential that the mother be emotionally secure, which would be solidified by a strong family and friend support structure located in San Jose. It further noted, “This child is depending upon his mother being all that she can be and feeling secure as an appropriate and healthy parent for him.” Therefore, the court found it was in the child’s best interests to allow him to relocate with his mother to California.
Whether advancing or defending a motion seeking modification of custody, visitation, and child support, a parent is best served by consulting with an experienced family law practitioner. Should you have questions regarding matrimonial matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or JMaya@mayalaw.com.
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