Case Conclusion Date:August 24, 2010
Practice Area:Child Custody
Outcome:Move-Away to Minnesota Granted
Description:D.S. was involved in a bitter custody battle with D.H. for their one year old son. D.S. and D.H. were never married and lived in California when their son was born. However, D.S. had no family support system in California; her entire extended family had long since moved back to their home state of Minnesota. Due to domestic violence, D.S. fled California with their son to Minnesota. D.H. filed emergency Orders to force D.S. to move back to California with their son, and the Court granted D.H.’s request. At that point, D.S. hired our firm. We participated in an emergency screening where the Court ultimately ordered temporary joint physical and legal custody and a “month-on; month-off” schedule which required the exchange of the minor child in an airport every month. Despite D.S.’s repeated requests for primary custody, and explanation that she fled to Minnesota because of domestic violence, the Court initially believed that she “abducted” the child with the intent to exclude D.H. from the child’s life and “used’ the allegation of domestic violence as justification for her move. As the case progressed, D.S.’s initial request for a restraining Order proceeded to trial. D.S. and multiple other witnesses testified at trial regarding the domestic violence throughout D.S. and D.H.’s relationship. The Court issued a permanent restraining Order and found, pursuant to Family Code Section 3044, that D.H. had perpetrated domestic violence against D.S., and further, that an award of joint or sole physical or legal custody to D.H. was presumptively not in the child’s best interests. After the restraining Order trial, the case proceeded to an Evaluation through Family Court Services. Due to the success in the Restraining order trial, Family Court Services recommended that D.S. have sole physical and legal custody and that the child reside primarily in Minnesota. D.H. reluctantly agreed to the recommendation from Family Court Services and D.S. has been living happily in Minnesota with her son ever since.