There is nothing really easy about divorce and child custody matters. Even in cases where the divorce is amicable and the kids are handling the situation well, the truth is that a family is breaking up. The new configuration may be better for everyone involved, but such a fundamental life change is hard.
There are some situations that are tougher than others, and one parent relocating is near the top of the list. If a parenting schedule is already in place, the parties have to start from scratch. If there is no parenting plan yet, or if the parties are already antagonistic or even hostile, a solution may seem entirely out of reach.
We started to discuss a case like this in our last post. The parents live in Michigan, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen here.
The couple moved to the U.S. from their native Israel about 10 years ago. They settled in with their three children, and both pursued successful careers. In 2008, however, the husband took a job back in Israel and asked his wife to relocate. She said no.
According to the husband, there was a brief reconciliation, and the whole family moved to Israel. Soon, however, the wife brought the children back to Michigan to live and sued for divorce. The father moved back, too, in order to be near the kids, and the divorce proceeded. The court gave the wife physical custody and granted the parents joint legal custody.
Co-parenting did not go well. The wife reportedly interfered with the husband’s parenting time, and at one point she accused him of abusing her. Her petition for an order for protection was denied. As legal experts explain it, every violation of the parenting agreement was a violation of a court order. Over time, the judge lost patience with her.
The judge’s response, however, has caused a stir. We’ll explain more in our next post.
New York Observer, “ Him’,” Ken Kurson, July 8, 2015
MLive!, “Oakland County judge locks up kids in divorce case, gets national attention,” Ian Thibodeau, July 24, 2015