COA Affirms Denied Relocation – Was Not in Child’s Best Interest

Family Law Case Review

In re: the Paternity of B.R.H.


HELD: Trial court’s order denying Mother’s request to relocate with Child to New Mexico was affirmed. While Mother’s proposed relocation was made in good faith, the relocation was not in Child’s best interests.


FACTS & PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Mother and Father had a relationship in 2015 that resulted in the birth of Child in 2016. Father filed a petition to establish paternity that resulted in an agreed entry that did so, as well as provided for the parties to share joint legal custody of Child, with Mother’s primary physical custody subject to Father’s IPTG parenting time.


In 2018, Mother filed a petition to relocate to Texas with Child. In support, Mother asserted that she was offered employment there with a hospital as a registered dietician, and that the Texas job was her only offer of employment after a job search. Father responded with a petition to modify custody to him.


Following a hearing in 2018, the trial court granted Mother’s petition to relocate and denied Father’s petition to modify custody. However, Mother’s job opportunity in Texas did fell through, and she did not move.

Mother subsequently met and married a man living in Clovis, New Mexico, and she filed a petition to relocate there. That petition and Father’s response to it were heard by the trial court over several days. While the trial court concluded that Mother’s desire to relocate was in good faith (to be with her husband), it was not in Child’s best interests to be relocated from Dubois County to New Mexico. Mother’s petition to relocate with Child was denied. Mother appealed.


The Court of Appeals noted the deference that is afforded trial courts, particularly in family law matters. Reviewing the record, the Court concluded that the evidence supported the trial court’s findings that, while Mother’s proposed relocation was made in good faith, it was not in Child’s best interests to do so, particularly due to the impact a move of that great distance would have on Child’s relationship with Father, as well as all of the bonded relationships Child had established in Indiana.


The trial court’s order denying Mother’s proposed relocation was affirmed.

________________________________________________________________________________________________


James A. Reed and Michael R. Kohlhaas represent clients in a wide spectrum of relationship transition and wealth planning matters, including premarital agreements, estate planning, cohabitation, separation, divorce (especially involving high net worth individuals and/or complex asset issues), custody, parenting arrangements, adoption, and domestic partnerships. Cross Glazier Reed Burroughs, PC, is the premiere boutique family law firm in the state of Indiana. Visit the firm’s website at https://www.cgblawfirm.com/ .

10 views