Move Away Story

undefinedJoe had an intimate relationship in Los Angeles with Lori, resulting in identical twin daughters. Even though he was in his mid-50s with four adult children from a prior relationship, Joe could not bear the thought of an abortion. He promised to provide for Lori and the twins, but Lori decided to follow her ex-husband in his move to France so she could stay with her daughter from that relationship.

An international move-away custody battle ensued, with neither party wanting to live in LA. Lori wanted to move to France with the twins and Joe wanted to take them back to his home in Washington, DC. After an emotional trial, Commissioner Matthew St. George found that it was in the children’s best interest to live with their father in DC. Not wanting to see the children without a mother, Joe offered to provide an apartment in his building for Lori and her daughter from the prior relationship so the twins’ mother and sister could be involved in their lives. Soon after Lori moved to D.C., she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Joe would never forgive himself if he let the mother of his baby girls go without top medical treatment, so he married Lori so she could get his excellent health insurance coverage.

Joe has made good on the promises he made in court during the move away trial—that is, to foster the relationship between the twins and their mother. He has built them a beautiful home (built it himself) in a safe neighborhood on a cul de sac street where the children can ride their bikes with neighborhood friends, and he has installed an in-ground pool so the children can be entertained in their own backyard instead of being locked up in front of a screen.

Joe recently wrote to me and asked me to thank the bench officer for giving him, the children and Lori this life. When I googled Commissioner St. George, I learned that he passed away from cancer this past April 2019.

undefinedJoe wants me to thank the family of the judicial officer and all the judicial officers who have to use their discretion in a move-away to determine which parent has the best interests of the children at heart.

Move-away cases are the most difficult child custody battles. The court must consider the following factors: the interest and stability and continuity of the custody relationship, the distance of the move, the age of the children, the children’s relationship with parents, the parents relationship with each other, the children’s wishes (if an appropriate age and maturity), the reason for the proposed move and to the extent the parents currently share custody. For more information about Move Away or Relocation cases, contact Kraft Miles.

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