Custody Issues: Relocation, Relocation, Relocation
Change happens. Recently the Appellate Division, Second Department reversed a dramatic trial court ruling that denied the petition of a mother to relocate—and awarded her ex-husband sole legal and physical custody of her children.
Yvette Cruz and Daniel Caruso are the parents of nine-year old twins. The couple divorced in 2004. In 2007, both parties initiated custody proceedings resulting in a ruling granting the parties joint legal custody with physical custody awarded to Ms. Cruz. Mr. Caruso was awarded liberal visitation.
In 2011, Mr. Caruso learned Ms. Cruz was planning to relocate to New Rochelle, about 57 miles away. Mr. Caruso commenced a legal action to gain sole legal and physical custody of his children. Without sufficient explanation, the trial court denied the relocation bid of Ms. Cruz and awarded Mr. Caruso sole legal and physical custody of their children.
In March of 2014, the Second Department reversed the ruling, noting as follows:
- At the trial level, no “sound and substantial reason basis” was shown why the relocation was not in the best interests of the children. The appellate court stated Ms. Cruz had a valid reason to relocate to New Rochelle.
- In altering the custody arrangement, there was again no “sound and substantial basis” for altering the custody arrangement. The mother had been the primary caregiver of the children throughout their lives.
- The trial court gave no weight to the separation of the twins from their younger brother by the second marriage of their mother.
The court restored custody of the children to their mother and granted the relocation sought in 2011. In the action, the mother was joined by the attorney for the children.
This relocation action became a contentious custody battle that marked the lives of the children involved.
When change involves divorce, your children and relocation, retain aggressive legal counsel to protect you and your family. Call Bryan L. Salamone and Associates, P.C.