Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Interference with Parent-Time + Moving = Sufficient Grounds for a Change of Custody

Hanson v. Hanson, 2009 UT App. 365, (Utah Court of Appeals, December 10, 2009).

Mother had moved to Louisiana and Father had filed a Petition to Modify. At trial, Father offered evidence that besides moving to Louisiana, Mother had also substantially interfered with Father’s visitation. The trial court awarded custody to Father. Mother appealed.

On appeal, Mother argued that increasing the distance from extended family is not sufficient grounds to change custody. The Court agreed, however affirmed the trial court finding that when moving away from family is combined with substantial interference with parent-time it is sufficient grounds to change custody.

DISSENT: The remedy for noncompliance with the parent-time order is contempt, not a change of custody. The primary caretaker factor is paramount and a custody arrangement should rarely be disturbed.

Full Decision available http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/appopin/hanson121009.pdf

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