New York trial court orders Skype visitation for out-of-state relocation

By Correy Stephenson

The Daily Record Newswire

BOSTON, MA -- A mother may relocate with her children to Florida if she pays for and provides access to Skype visitation with a real-time broadcast between her children and their father, a New York trial court has ruled.

In Baker v. Baker, the mother sought permission to relocate from Long Island to Florida with a couple's two children, aged nine and six.

She planned to move in with her parents as the New York home was in the late stages of foreclosure and she was unemployed. The father was a recovering alcoholic who lived in employer-provided housing and could not afford trips to Florida.

He objected to the move, especially because he had recently completed rehab and was trying to become a permanent presence in the children's lives.

The court said that the mother could relocate as long as she provides for Skype visitation.

"Clearly, the financial realities of this case reveal that neither parent is currently in a position to fund frequent trips between New York and Florida. Equally clear is the trauma awaiting the children upon seeing the only home they have known being taken away with deputy sheriffs posting the property with an order to remove all inhabitants and contents. Homelessness is a real probability," the court said.

Here, "[t]he court will allow the [mother] to relocate to Florida. [She] will be directed to reside in her parents' home, with the children, until such time as she finds gainful employment which allows her to secure her own residence suitable for the children.

"The relocation is conditional. The [mother], at her own cost and expense, will see to it, prior to relocation, that the [father], as well as the children, are provided the appropriate Internet access via a Skype device which allows a real time broadcast of communications between the [father] and his children.

"Thereafter, the [mother] will make the children available three times per week for not less than one hour per connection to communicate via Skype with their father."

The court granted the father further visitation during the children's school vacation and ordered the mother to purchase round-trip airfare for them to visit their father in New York "upon her retention of gainful employment."

Published: Thu, Aug 19, 2010

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