Tow v. Tow
Precedent establishes that review of a trial court's decision regarding relocation orders is one of abuse of discretion. The marriage of the plaintiff, Jennifer Tow, and the defendant, David Tow, entered into in 1981 was dissolved in 2007. Two of the parties' three children had attained majority and graduated from high school when the court ruled on various post judgment motions. The plaintiff appealed claiming that the court erred in denying her motion for contempt and motion for permission to relocate with the remaining minor child and in granting the motion of the defendant to modify child support and alimony. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The plaintiff contended in her motion for contempt that the defendant failed to pay child support and alimony for nine months following the dissolution judgment while the parties remained in the same house. In denying the motion, the court determined that during that period, the plaintiff had access to the family's joint checking account to pay bills and expenses and the amount the defendant deposited was well in excess of the amount owed in child support and alimony. The trial court's factual findings were not clearly erroneous. The court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the defendant did not violate alimony and support orders. The trial court did not err in granting the defendant's motion to modify child support and alimony. The court's findings of a substantial change in circumstances based, partly, on the defendant's decreased earnings, the family home being sold in foreclosure and the second child attaining majority and graduating from high school, were supported by the record. The court did not err in denying the plaintiff's motion for permission to relocate to France with the parties' remaining minor child, a 12 year old son. The record supported the finding that relocation was not for a legitimate purpose. The plaintiff testified that she could not legally obtain work in France. The court found that furthering her career opportunities was not a legitimate purpose for relocation. The court did not credit the plaintiff's assertion that relocation was in the child's best interests. Any cultural opportunities were found overshadowed by the irreparable harm the child would likely suffer as his relationship with the defendant continued to deteriorate.