Family Law: Modification of child custody order to permit custodial father to move with child to Thailand was in best interests of child

A father, who resided in Pennsylvania and had primary physical custody of his child, cross-petitioned for a modification of a child custody order which would permit him to move with the child from Pennsylvania to Thailand.  Under New York law, a party seeking relocation of his or her child must establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the relocation would be in the child’s best interests.   In this case, the Family Court credited the father’s explanation for moving of desiring to keep his family intact; his current spouse had been offered a transfer by the French corporation for which she worked, with lucrative pay and benefits.   While recognizing that the move would severely restrict the birth mother’s parenting time, the Family Court observed that such restriction might be positive for the child since the birth mother (and her parents) had frequently engaged in behavior that had a harmful effect on the child.   This included repeated derogatory comments about the father, attempts to manipulate the child to say negative things about the father, and the frequent use of profanity around the child.  The father won the modification and mother appealed.  On appeal, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department affirmed the Family Court’s decision and held that the modification of a child custody order to permit the custodial father to move with the child to Thailand was in the best interests of the child.  Hissam v. Mancini

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