In a case out of Roanoke County, two parents, who were divorced in 2012 each filed motions seeking to modify the terms of custody and visitation.
Since the divorce, the mother had remarried and planned to move from Roanoke to Nashville with her new husband. Meanwhile, the father had suffered a number of health problems requiring hospitalization and recuperation resulting in a loss of employment.
Mother asked the court to allow her to relocate to Tennessee with the minor child. The father asked the court to award him primary custody so that the son would remain with him in Roanoke.
The court made various findings about the parents and the child, including:
- Both mother and father were loving and capable parents.
- The eight-year-old son was happy and well-adjusted.
- Each parent was playing a significant and important role in the son’s care and upbringing, and each was comfortable with the other parent’s involvement.
- A licensed clinical social worker testified that relocation would be detrimental for the son by cutting his time with his father.
- There were concerns about the father’s stability. He lived with a fiancée who remained married to her estranged husband. His health needs and uncertain future income raised concerns about dependence on others.
- The father had a history of alcohol abuse, and his health would be jeopardized by future alcohol use.
- The couple’s relationship had been strained, but was improving.
- The mother had better parenting abilities than the father, with better insight about their son.
- The son and father enjoyed an important and beneficial relationship that would be jeopardized if the mother and son moved six or seven hours away.
The judge denied both the mother’s and the father’s petitions and left custody and visitation as it was in the final order of divorce. In effect, the judge denied the mother’s request to move the child to Tennessee.