I was witness to a child relocation case that was taken to trial which I think perfectly encapsulates the entire Family Court experience. The names have been covered up of course to protect the innocent. It goes like this:
Mother has placement (physical custody) of the minor children. Meaning they live with her, and visit with their Father. Father pays support. The parties share legal custody (decision making) and genuinely love their kids. Kids are happy, healthy, and caught in the middle.
Father is making the most of it, enjoys his visits with the children, wishes he could see them more. The bond between Father and Children is admittedly strong.
Mother is offered an opportunity for a promotion, earning significantly more money. As in, twice as much money. The problem is, she has to move out of state in order to take the job. She has to relocate to FL – with the kids. To take a job that will increase her salary significantly and thus the quality of life of the children. But, they would have to move far, far away from the Father, with whom they have a strong bond.
So far, so typical. A toxic Family Court case with no real winner. Intractable. And the parties didn’t help themselves, either. Taking everything personally. Never giving one another the benefit of the doubt. Bickering, backstabbing, the whole nine.
So they hold a trial. Several afternoons spent in court (instead of at work, or with family). Lots of testimony. Lots of money spent. Lots of stress. And they finally get a decision. Is Mother permitted to move to FL with the kids – away from Father – but into a whole lot more income? No. The judge did not allow Mother to move. She and the kids stay right where they are. But, in order to make up for the extra income Mother lost out on by not being allowed to move, Father’s child support is DOUBLED. Father leaves miserable. Mother leaves miserable. If you only ever remember one case I blog about it should be this one. This is Family Court.