Under a mediated paternity agreement stipulating that the mother of a non‑marital minor child had to obtain consent of the father to move more than 50 miles away from the mother’s current residence, the proper method to measure the distance was a straight line radius test and not a drivable roads test. When interpreting a contract or a statute that sets a geographical distance or boundary, in the absence of contractual or statutory language providing otherwise, the simplest and most objective method to measure the distance between two points is the straight‑line or as the crow flies measure; this uniform standard offers more certainty than a measure based on road miles, which may fluctuate as new and different routes are constructed.
Laura Morgan is a Family Law Consultant. Laura is available for consultation, brief writing and research on family law issues throughout the country. She can be reached through her Web site.