Child Relocation: Custodial Parent's Reasons for Relocation: Educational Opportunities
National Legal Research Group, Inc.
Another reason which is often found sufficient to permit relocation is the custodial parent's pursuit of educational or training opportunities with an eye toward improving the parent's earning potential, job opportunities, or chance for advancement. In Geiger v. Yaeger, 846 A.2d 691 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2004), the mother was allowed to relocate to North Carolina where the move offered her increased educational opportunities. The mother was a nurse in Pennsylvania but had no more opportunity for advancement without further education. The mother obtained a similar nursing job in North Carolina. While the pay was sightly less, the hospital offered tuition reimbursement as a benefit which was needed by the mother to fund her further education. The Pennsylvania Superior Court found that the mother's motive for the proposed relocation was to further her education and that such a move was in the child's best interests.

These facts definitely show that mother's life will be improved by the move to North Carolina. Mother's happiness and well-being will in turn better both the economic and non-economic interests of Breanna: economically since mother's increase in her education will translate into increased job opportunities and increased family income; non-economically because mother's ability to go to school again will show Breanna by demonstration that school is very important and worthwhile and because mother's increased welfare will make life happier for Breanna. Id. at 698; see also Bednarek v. Velazquez, 830 A.2d 1267 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2003) (mother's intrastate relocation to attend college allowed).

However, if the educational opportunity pursued by the custodial parent is available in other geographic areas, particularly those surrounding his or her current residence, courts are much more reluctant to find the pursuit of these opportunities an adequate basis to allow relocation. For example in Flynn v. Flynn, ___ Nev. ___, 92 P.3d 1224 (2004), the wife desired to move to California in order to enroll in a two-year associate's degree program in Theology. The Nevada Supreme Court rejected the wife's contention that she presented a good-faith reason supporting her proposed relocation. The court found that the mother was only pursuing this degree for her own interest and did not expect it to increase her income. The court also found that the mother could obtain the same degree from the same college without relocating via Internet classes or classes held at the college's extension campus. Because there was no need for the mother to relocate to obtain her degree and the proposed move would negatively impact the father's relationship with the child, the court denied the mother's request to relocate.
Go to: Child Relocation Informational Section

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