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Gillespie Wins Relocation Case in Supreme Court

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Gillespie Wins Relocation Case in Supreme Court

Larry Gillespie prevailed in the Missouri Supreme Court, convincing the Court to affirm the trial court in a relocation and custody case, despite the reversal by the Court of Appeals, Eastern District.

The Supreme Court affirmed the relocation of the mother to seek employment, holding that the relocation was sought in good faith and that there was substantial evidence to support the relocation. Under section 452.377 R.S.Mo. the parent seeking relocation must prove that the proposed relocation is made in good faith and that the it is in the best interest of the children.   In determining that relocation was appropriate, Judge Stith wrote that “It can be in a child’s best interests to relocate with a parent to a different community when the trial court determines it is in the child’s best interest to continue to live with that particular parent even though that parent’s circumstances require the parent to move.” Mother lost her teaching job, and sought employment at several surrounding districts, including schools closer to father, but she only received an offer at the school she accepted some 56 miles from the father’s residence. Father argued that the relocation request was made in bad faith to thwart his visitation, and that the Judgment was not supported by substantial evidence.

The Court also upheld the modification of custody from joint legal and physical custody to sole legal custody with the mother. The Court found that there was substantial evidence supporting a change from joint to sole legal custody where Mother and Father’s relationship was so contentious that they could not effectively function, communicate, or make joint decisions regarding the children, and that father’s negative conduct had a deleterious impact on the children.

The case is Pasternak v. Pasternak, SC94488, August 18, 2015.

 

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Guest Monday, 21 August 2017