Tuesday, February 07, 2006

'Move-Away' Parents Get Green Light

This is regarding the recent California Supreme Court decision in the case of Brown vs. Yana. What is so sick here is that while the boy was already living with his father as he was so unhappy living with his mother out of state, the Court still found reasons to make it easier to for custodial parents to move. The experiences of this boy were completely ignored.

'Move-Away' Parents Get Green Light


The California Supreme Court on Thursday shifted the balance in fights between divorced parents with a ruling that eases the way for a parent with custody — usually the mother — to move away over her former mate's objections.

Brown, who has two other children with her second husband, argued that Cameron would suffer if he was separated from his half-siblings. She also offered Yana more time in the summer with their son.

Yana argued that moving would put the boy in a community with poor schools and more crime. He also moved for joint custody. A lower court ruled that a judge should have held a full hearing on Yana's objections before the mother could relocate.

The high court disagreed, in Brown vs. Yana. The court ruled that a parent who lacks custody, usually the father, would have to show that the move would harm the child before he would be granted a hearing.

A hearing "in a move-away situation should be held only if necessary," Justice Marvin Baxter wrote for the unanimous court.

Thursday's decision will not affect Cameron's current custody arrangement. After moving to Nevada with his mother, Cameron decided he would prefer to be with his father, and his mother eventually allowed the child to live with Yana in Santa Maria.

At a court hearing in November, "the boy testified unequivocally how unhappy he was with his stepfather and his mother," Helbert said. "He wasn't doing well in Las Vegas."
(emphasis mine)

The court refused to rule that a child's unhappiness about moving could never be a sufficient reason for changing custody status. The court also said that regardless of custody status, any parent can try to stop a relocation if that parent can make a sufficient showing of potential harm to his or her children.

"Even a parent with sole legal and sole physical custody may be restrained from changing a child's residence if a court determines the change would be detrimental to the child's rights or welfare," Baxter wrote.

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