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COA upholds mother’s relocation to Illinois

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A trial court’s decision to allow a mother and her two children to move to Illinois after marrying her fiancé was not an abuse of discretion by the court because the father didn’t show how the move would have a negative effect on the children.

Kyle and Ara Dixon divorced in 2007, with Ara Dixon having physical custody of the parties’ children and Kyle Dixon receiving parenting time. In 2011, the mother filed notice of intent to relocate to Illinois due to her plans to get remarried and live with her new husband, who worked in Illinois.

Kyle Dixon is remarried and has one son with his new wife and two stepchildren. He participated in many activities with the children because of his flexible work schedule. It would take about three hours to drive to Ara Dixon’s new home in Illinois, but she testified that she’d be willing to continue alternating weekends with the father, allow the children to be in Indiana for holidays and accommodate extra parenting time when appropriate.

The trial court found that the mother’s desire to relocate was made in good faith and for a legitimate reason. The judge granted her request to relocate, which effectively denied Kyle Dixon’s motion to modify custody.

The children’s schedule will not change much due to the relocation, the Court of Appeals noted in Kyle W. Dixon v. Ara J. Dixon, 34A05-1206-DR-303, and Kyle Dixon didn’t present any expert testimony to show how the move would have a negative effect on the kids. The judges also weren’t persuaded by his argument that the relocation may cause conflicts with his ability to engage in parenting time with his children with Ara Dixon as the schedule of his son with his second wife may conflict with trips to see the children in Illinois.

The appellate court found the trial judge considered the factors set out in Indiana Code 31-17-2.2-1(b) in making its determination.

 

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