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Child custody and visitation cases, whether in California or elsewhere, are among the most difficult and heart wrenching matters in the law. When the parties cannot agree on custody or a visitation schedule, the general applicable legal standard is to decide what is in the best interests of the children.

One issue that arises, at times, is when one parent seeks to relocate to another jurisdiction with the minor children. Many noncustodial parents object strenuously, particularly when the distance is far.

A New York rabbi and his ex-wife have been battling over these issues for at least 7 years. The initial custody case was decided in 2006.

She is trying to relocate with her children to California to live with her fiancé, claiming the move is due to the continued emotional and economic abuse of her ex-husband. Subsequently, the rabbi (unsuccessfully) charged the ex-wife with abuse. Recently, the rabbi has apparently refused to return his children to their mother in an alleged effort to prevent his ex from moving to California.

Since the parties are not able to agree, the courts will have to decide what is best for the children.

While courts are generally reluctant to allow one party to move with children so far from another, there are circumstances under which they will permit it. In this matter, it appears the courts and court advocates have had opportunities, over the years, to observe both parties and the manner in which they interact with their children. It is not easy to have someone else decide for you what is best for your children. An attorney experienced in custody and visitation may be of help to advocate for you and your children.

Source: Bellmore Patch, "Rabbi Incident Reveals Heated Custody Battle," Matthew Hogan, 13 July 2011

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