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Judge ‘troubled’ by delays in relocation case

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The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday upheld a mother’s decision to relocate from Indiana to Georgia with her daughter before a court hearing was held on the matter. But one judge on the panel found the court’s reliance on the time the mother and child lived in Georgia to support its decision “makes a mockery” of the relocation statute.

Starr Weather and Ryan Gold have a daughter born in August 2008. Gold is married with two other children and lives in Indianapolis. Weather worked as a nurse in Terre Haute. The two had a contentious relationship, including Weather denying Gold visitation for more than a year. She decided to relocate to Atlanta, Ga., to be close to her mother and two siblings, whom lived in Terre Haute prior to moving to Georgia.

Weather did not provide the required 90-day notice of her intent to move prior to her relocation date of July 1, 2011, and she moved prior to obtaining court approval. In October 2012, the court found that Weather satisfied her burden of proving the move was in good faith and for a legitimate purpose. In October 2013, the court issued its final order denying Gold’s objection to the relocation and his motion to modify physical custody. The two were awarded joint legal custody of the child.

In Ryan Gold v. Starr Weather, 49A02-1311-JP-995, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision by the trial court, with Judge Patricia Riley pointing to the care that mother’s immediate family provided for the child and her close bond with those family members. Weather also relocated to Georgia for employment reasons.

Gold argued that custody should be modified because of Weather’s multiple attempts to thwart parenting time, but the judges declined to disturb the trial court’s decision.

The majority opinion noted by the time of the final hearing, the child had lived in Georgia for two years. This was an issue that caused Judge Margret Robb to concur in result.

“I believe Mother’s move in violation of the terms of the relocation statute alone justifies closer scrutiny of her reasons for the move. And Mother’s hasty move coupled with the court’s reliance – however small – on the time she and the Child have lived 800 miles away from Father as support for its decision despite acknowledging her disregard makes a mockery of the statute,” Robb wrote.

“If a parent can ignore the requirements of the law, move the child without court approval, and then claim ‘primary caregiving’ and ‘bonding’ as a justification for staying with that parent being in the child’s best interest—and moreover, if the court can acknowledge all of this and yet in effect reward the parent by approving what they have already done—then the relocation statute has no meaning and no teeth.”

She said her concurrence might have been a dissent if Gold had been more aggressive in pursuing his rights and less complicit in the lengthy delay in this case. Robb also found the two-year delay from the notice of intent to move and when the final order was issued to be “unconscionable” on the part of both the parties and the court.  

 

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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