In Re Marriage of Kim: The court let the mother relocate with the child—considering she was the primary residential parent with a job opportunity.
By Christina A. Meserve and Charles E. Szurszewsk, family lawyers
This was a 25-year marriage. Both parties were doctors. The father was a cardiologist and the mother was a pathologist — who had not practiced medicine for 14 years. The parties had three children.
The mother had primary residential care under the temporary parenting plan. She filed a notice of her intent to relocate to Los Angeles to accept a surgical pathology fellowship. The Yakima court commissioner denied the mother’s motion to relocate. The dissolution trial took place over several days in 2012. At the conclusion of the trial, the court entered a parenting plan that allowed the mother to relocate. The trial court had entered detailed findings of fact on the statutory relocation factors. The father appealed.
Most significant here was that the mother had been the primary residential parent; the father had worked approximately 100 hours per week; the presumption is that a proposed relocation will benefit the child by keeping the child with the primary residential parent, and the children were more bonded with the mother. The court noted that the mother’s time out of the workplace would require retraining and that the UCLA job offer provided financial resources for her. The court also noted that the family history included several instances of relocation, always for the father’s career. There were no job opportunities for the mother in Yakima and the mother did not have a medical license here.
Christina A. Meserve and Charles E. Szurszewski practice family law in Olympia, Washington with the law firm of Connolly Tacon & Meserve.