This is a case between a mother and father of a certain family who went to court for a child custody case of their three children. The mother won the custody and appealed to transfer the children to Pennsylvania.
Both parties are the parents of the children, with ages 10, 6 and 4. In 2008, the mother left their home in New York with the children and went to Pennsylvania. One of the mother’s sisters is residing in Pennsylvania. The escape of the mother and the children was caused by an assault made by the father to the children and the mother. The court in Pennsylvania awarded the order of protection, as well as the temporary custody, to the mother. However, in late 2008, both parents had reconciled. The family returned to their home in New York. But in second quarter of 2009, the mother and the children left New York and went back to Pennsylvania.
The father appealed to the Supreme Court to seek the custody of his children. The mother also had a motion to award her the custody and be permitted to leave New York and live in Pennsylvania with her sister and children. The court then awarded the custody to the mother, but denied the motion to relocate in Pennsylvania. The mother appealed for the decision to be reviewed.
It is very important to consider the best interests of the children upon permitting the petition to relocate. The court needs to know the interests of the children, them being the witnesses of the case, whether they like to live in New York or to live in Pennsylvania.
As the records were reviewed, it was found that the decision of the Supreme Court to deny the relocation of the mother and her children lacks the substance and the basis. The record showed that the mother has been the primary provider of the needs of the children, as well as the primary caregiver of the family. She became committed with the needs of the children. The father, on the other hand, remained to be of little involvement with the children and the family when they were living together under one roof.
The Supreme Court failed to take into consideration the allegation of the mother of domestic violence. Each assault also usually happened while the children were present and they were exposed to repeated violence committed by their father. The assault ruined the relationship of both parties, which later caused the mother to leave New York with the children and live in Pennsylvania.
The father insisted that there was no domestic violence that happened between them. However, the court noted that the temper of the father showed during the hearing when he yelled at the lawyer of the mother as he left the witness stand. The father harassed and intimidated the mother, by calling her through her cell phone, asking the whereabouts of the mother from the eldest child. He even placed a tracking device on the mother’s car.
When the mother was granted to relocate, the father was given a visitation schedule with extended days during vacations to meet and visit his children and be able to spend time with them. This would help them continue to have a meaningful relationship post-trial.
The testimony of the children showed that they wished to relocate to Pennsylvania. With that, a post-relocation visitation schedule was established.
Stephen Bilkis and Associates can help you make the right decision to protect your family from domestic violence. If you are afraid to come out in the open, consult with one of our expert lawyers and be empowered to keep your children in a safe and peaceful place where they can grow into compassionate normal adults.