Move Aways Limited - Dad's Get Some Rights

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in General Discussion edited January 2014
Quote:

http://www.latimes.com/la-me-move30a...,1417169.story

THE STATE

Child Custody Rights Refined

A divorced parent's freedom to move away is limited. The state Supreme Court says a child's welfare is paramount in disputes.

By Maura Dolan

Times Staff Writer



April 30, 2004



SAN FRANCISCO ? The California Supreme Court made it more difficult Thursday for a divorced parent to move with children over the objections of the other parent.



The court's 6-1 decision gives parents who lack custody ? generally fathers ? more legal weapons to fight to keep their children close, and weakens the right of custodial parents ? usually mothers ? to move to take a better job or for some other reason.



Courts always weigh competing interests in deciding custody disputes.



In 1996, the high court issued a ruling that directed judges to give more weight to a custodial parent's desire to move. Supreme courts in several other states followed California's lead after that decision, legal experts said.



Advocates for women had hoped the court would use this case to go further. Instead, the justices pushed the balance back the other way.



Judges must consider "the likely impact of the proposed move on the noncustodial parent's relationship with the children" as one of the factors in deciding whether to approve a move, Justice Carlos R. Moreno wrote in the court's decision.



If the evidence indicates that a move would harm that relationship and the parent with custody still wants to move, a judge "must perform the delicate and difficult task of determining whether a change in custody is in the best interest of the children," Moreno wrote.



Lawyers on the opposing sides agreed that the decision would have broad impact, although they sharply disagreed about whether it would be for good or ill.



Thursday's ruling "changes everything," said Garrett C. Dailey, who represented the father in the case before the court.



Judges have been approving relocations because they believed "the mother's right to move was so predominant," even when the moves were across country or international, he said.



Now "the trial court is going to have the flexibility to consider what is in the best interest of the child," Dailey said.



"This will have an effect across the country and for all California kids. It's truly a landmark opinion, a monumental decision."



Tony J. Tanke, who represented the mother, said the court "has taken a giant step backward" and "replaced a half century of law."



"California's custodial parents ? most of whom are mothers ? have lost the presumptive right to make decisions to better their lives and the lives of their children," he said. "This is the worst day for children in the history of California."



Tanke, the mother's appellate lawyer, said the ruling would mean costly fights when a custodial parent tries to move.



"The Supreme Court decision requires a full custody evaluation and trial every time a parent seeks to move," he said.



"Custody evaluations cost $5,000 or more. Trials cost $50,000 or $100,000. The bottom line is that custody evaluators and family lawyers get rich; mother and children are deprived of access to justice."



The ruling came in the case of a Northern California couple with two sons. Susan Poston Navarro wanted to move to Ohio, where her second husband had found a better job and the cost of living was lower.



A trial judge prevented the relocation on the grounds that it would damage the boys' relationship with their father, Gary LaMusga. The boys were then 9 and 7.



The judge, relying on an evaluation by a psychologist, said that the boys had only a tenuous relationship with their father and it might not survive the distance.



If Navarro insisted on moving, custody should be given to the father, the judge decided.



Faced with that decision, Navarro's second husband moved to Ohio, leaving behind her, the two boys and a baby daughter they had together. He eventually moved back to California, taking a pay cut, to be with his family.



An appeals court later overturned the trial court's decision, saying that under the 1996 ruling, "Marriage of Burgess," the mother had a presumptive right to change her residence and take her children.



The state high court sided Thursday with the trial judge.



In deciding whether to transfer custody away from the parent who moves, judges should consider several other factors, including the need to maintain stability for the children, their ages and relationships with both parents, the reasons for the move and the distance of the move, the state high court said.



Justice Joyce L. Kennard dissented, arguing that there was no evidence that the trial court had considered the harm to the children of transferring custody to the father if the mother moved.



"The trial court said that moving the children to another state could damage the children's relationship with their father, but the court never mentioned the potential harm to the children from losing their mother as their primary caretaker," Kennard wrote.



Kim Robinson, who represented Navarro in the trial court, said legal research shows that judges already tend to be biased toward preventing mothers from relocating when fathers object.



"Fathers can move away with kids, mothers cannot," she said.



By giving trial judges so much discretion, the court permitted "any reason at all, no matter how whimsical or flimsy" to stop a mother from moving with her children, Robinson said.



For the children of Susan Navarro and Gary LaMusga, Thursday's ruling may be moot.



The mother moved a year ago to Arizona with the boys, who are now 11 and 9.



A trial judge permitted the move pending the state high court decision. The boys visit their father regularly in California, and he visits Arizona.



LaMusga, 51, reached Thursday, said he was "very excited because this will positively affect what is best for the children of California."



As far as his own children, he said, he was not sure what the impact of Thursday's decision would be.



The case will return to a trial judge to resolve the custody issues.



If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at latimes.com/archives.



Article licensing and reprint options







Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times



Sorry about the whole article but the LA Times archives after about three days and on top of it, they require registration.



I think this is some great news for divorced dads. Many other courts follow California's example and now more (typically) fathers will be able to prevent mothers from moving their shared children away to different states or even countries where they cannot share their custody or have their visitation.



It doesn't affect me personally, but it is good news for men and for fathers/friends who want to love, care for and be there for their children.



Nick

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    "Custody evaluations cost $5,000 or more. Trials cost $50,000 or $100,000. The bottom line is that custody evaluators and family lawyers get rich; mother and children are deprived of access to justice."



    I'm not sure this is a good idea. At first it 'makes sense', but ultimately it doesn't seem right. If I have custody, then I should have custody.



    If something needs to be done about one parent moving away from the other, it should be included in the original judgement. That ability to relocate, or lack thereof, should be clarified in advance and not in subsequent trials. That would be a simple addition to every case.
  • Reply 2 of 10
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,452member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by bunge

    "Custody evaluations cost $5,000 or more. Trials cost $50,000 or $100,000. The bottom line is that custody evaluators and family lawyers get rich; mother and children are deprived of access to justice."



    I'm not sure this is a good idea. At first it 'makes sense', but ultimately it doesn't seem right. If I have custody, then I should have custody.



    If something needs to be done about one parent moving away from the other, it should be included in the original judgement. That ability to relocate, or lack thereof, should be clarified in advance and not in subsequent trials. That would be a simple addition to every case.




    Except for when you don't have 100% custody and you taking your 55% custody to another country deprives me of my 45% custody. If you have the kids less than the majority of the time, it is often called visitation instead of say, minority custody which would be a more descriptive term.



    But I like your thinking bunge. I think we should open a joint checking account together. Don't think it unfair if I take all the money out and deprive you of your ability to spend it.



    Nick
  • Reply 3 of 10
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by trumptman

    Except for when you don't have 100% custody and you taking your 55% custody to another country deprives me of my 45% custody. If you have the kids less than the majority of the time, it is often called visitation instead of say, minority custody which would be a more descriptive term.



    But I like your thinking bunge. I think we should open a joint checking account together. Don't think it unfair if I take all the money out and deprive you of your ability to spend it.



    Nick




    Now even when someone contributes to one of your threads, you have to respond like a prick.



    Obviously there is mixed custody, but as you say it's visitation rights. And as I previously said, this is something that could easily be worked out in advance. One parent gets custody, and does or does not have the right to move out of state.



    This system they've concocted is horrible. Even if the end result is perfect, the means to get to those ends suck big hairy balls. It should be fixed.
  • Reply 4 of 10
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,452member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by bunge

    Now even when someone contributes to one of your threads, you have to respond like a prick.



    Obviously there is mixed custody, but as you say it's visitation rights. And as I previously said, this is something that could easily be worked out in advance. One parent gets custody, and does or does not have the right to move out of state.



    This system they've concocted is horrible. Even if the end result is perfect, the means to get to those ends suck big hairy balls. It should be fixed.




    I wasn't trying to be a prick. I guess there isn't a good smirking smilies or perhaps I don't get the same response as say Bruce Willis when the lines come rolling out like that.



    I just don't see how it could be worked out in advance in a manner that would a) cover all probabilities and b) never require visitation.



    I mean even with the couple in the actual case, the court saw it as fine, and the Dad was able to exercise his visitation in Arizona, but could not from a longer distance. The mother only wanted the move in the first place because the man she had remarried to had found better job prospects in (fuzzy memory) Ohio.(?)



    How could she have possibly known about that all before hand.



    Maybe you could give me some examples of your thinking so I could fully understand what you are talking about. I mean that in a nice way, not a prick way.



    Nick
  • Reply 5 of 10
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,131member
    Quote:

    I'm not sure this is a good idea. At first it 'makes sense', but ultimately it doesn't seem right. If I have custody, then I should have custody.



    Mother's are usually giving custody based on assumptions that a mother is intrinsically the better parent. I think in today's society that is fallacious thinking. Upon a divorce or seperation you can in some states file a Parenting Plan which allows you to stipulate how to handle moves like this. But if the of of the parent disagrees then you're back to square one and battling in court.



    Quote:

    This system they've concocted is horrible. Even if the end result is perfect, the means to get to those ends suck big hairy balls. It should be fixed.



    I disagree. The system they have concocted is one that takes a look at the childs needs in more specifity. For instance despite what Tanke said not every move out of state is going to yield better results for the children. Children, while having a concept of money, will generally choose their biological parents over money everytime. To put it crudely is a new pair of Nikes worth not seeing your father?



    I think this system will combat the common practice of a custodial parent deciding they need a life change and moving or even worse moving for some long distance romance. Imagine if a child was pulled from an area where they had plenty of family and forced to live where they had none. Our courts should be looking at issues like these and deciding what truly is better for the child. Compromises will have to be made.



    Quote:

    I just don't see how it could be worked out in advance in a manner that would a) cover all probabilities and b) never require visitation.



    It's definitely possible but due to the emotive residue of breakups it's improbable in many ways. You may have married the most logical thinking and reasonable woman on the planet but that doesn't stop her from hating your guts upon your split. With children it's difficult because each parent wants to raise the child as they seem fit. Yes you can stipulate events like this in many relationships but again if the custodial parent balks then you're back to square one which is fighting for it.
  • Reply 6 of 10
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    My thought is that at the time of the split, and when the courts make the custody official, the judge adds one line to the decision. That being, the parent with a majority of custody rights does or does not have the right to leave the state. That should be made clear when the settlement is made. Yes, this parent is capable of moving out of state with the kids.
  • Reply 7 of 10
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,452member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by bunge

    My thought is that at the time of the split, and when the courts make the custody official, the judge adds one line to the decision. That being, the parent with a majority of custody rights does or does not have the right to leave the state. That should be made clear when the settlement is made. Yes, this parent is capable of moving out of state with the kids.



    Why would any judge ever check the box that it is okay to move?



    Nick
  • Reply 8 of 10
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by trumptman

    Sorry about the whole article but the LA Times archives after about three days and on top of it, they require registration.



    I think this is some great news for divorced dads. Many other courts follow California's example and now more (typically) fathers will be able to prevent mothers from moving their shared children away to different states or even countries where they cannot share their custody or have their visitation.



    It doesn't affect me personally, but it is good news for men and for fathers/friends who want to love, care for and be there for their children.



    Nick




    this is great! let us just hope that the 9th circut court doesnt get a whack at this (which they may )
  • Reply 9 of 10
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by trumptman

    Why would any judge ever check the box that it is okay to move?



    Nick




    If you can't imagine a single reason then you're probably too biased to contribute to the discussion.



    Sometimes a parent sucks. Sometimes a different parent is better.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,452member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by bunge

    If you can't imagine a single reason then you're probably too biased to contribute to the discussion.



    Sometimes a parent sucks. Sometimes a different parent is better.




    You seem to be suggesting that they would check it when the other parent is unfit. Obviously a parent can move if they have 100% custody. Obviously they can move if the court has found the other parent unfit, abusive, whatever.



    I was pretty sure that everyone was discussing the typical case where one parent has majority custody but the other parent has visitation that is two days or more per week and are fit parents.



    How would your example work in that instance?



    Nick
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