From the article Divorcee Moving to Florida with Children we read:

‘A Suffolk County judge ruled a mom who wants to move with her two kids to Florida can only relocate after arranging for video conferencing between the children and her ex-husband.

Debra Baker – “at her own cost and expense” – must provide the Skype connection to insure former spouse James can speak with their offspring, state Supreme Court Justice Jerry Garguilo ruled.’

Instead of close proximity and physical custody time for dad, James Baker, he is “awarded” 3-hours of video conferencing.

Now, what is clear from the rest of the article is that James Baker, the father, vehemently objected to the children’s move south to Florida.  Apparently the mother, Debra Baker, had her home fall into foreclosure.  Jobless and homeless, she made the decision to move from New York to Florida to live with her parents in their home.

Now, while we very often hear about how the “best interests of the children” are always taken into account, especially so when a move-away is in question, we fail to understand how it’s possible that the best interests of the children are served by:

  • Moving them away from their father so that they no longer have any physical parenting time – only three hours per week of video conferencing.
  • Leaving the children with a jobless, homeless mother who is still jobless and has to move-in with her parents across the country.
  • Moving the children away from their friends, their schools, their father.

Admittedly, we don’t know all of the details of the prior arrangement.  We do know that Mr. Baker did successfully complete alcohol treatment last year and has allegedly been doing well.  Despite this, we still find it hard to understand why 3-hours of video “visitation” (if you can call it that) is more appropriate for the children than a change in the physical custodial arrangement.

These are questions that I am sure are more easily answered with more information, but this situation was one that merited discussion even absent more details.