A Vincennes father lost his appeal of a modification of custody order that granted sole physical custody to his child’s mother after she moved 180 miles away to start a new family with her fiancé.
In Dustin Lee Jarrell v. Billie Jo Jarrell, 42A01-1308-DR-381, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday that neither parent complied fully with the relocation statute, IC 31-17-2.2-5. If a non-relocating parent doesn’t object with 60 days, a custodial parent is free to relocate.
In the instant case, the parents continued to share custody after Billie Jo relocated, but father realized that at some point a modification of custody would be required. He petitioned for modification, but the court ultimately adopted mother’s findings of fact, continuing with joint legal custody but granting sole physical custody to mother. Father was awarded parenting time three weekends a month and during summer breaks.
"We conclude that the trial court did not err in declining to consider the Relocation Factors because Father acquiesced to Mother’s relocation. Furthermore, the trial court did not err in modifying the custody order because there is evidence to support the findings that there was a substantial change in circumstance and that modification is in G.J.’s best interest," Judge Patricia Riley wrote for the panel.