Regan v. Regan
Connecticut General Statutes §46b-56d(a) expressly provides that a parent proposing the relocation of their minor child must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the relocation is for a legitimate purpose, the proposed location is reasonable in light of that purpose and relocation is in the child's best interests. The 2004 judgment dissolving the marriage of the plaintiff, John Regan, and the defendant, Siobhan Regan, that produced one child incorporated by reference a joint parenting agreement. That agreement provided that primary residence of the parties' then 2-year-old son was with the defendant and that she would not relocate the child's residence more than 32.5 driving miles from Fairfield without the plaintiff's consent or court order. Her 2006 motion for modification to relocate with the son to Boston was denied. The defendant remarried in 2009 to John Powell. They had two children. Powell, who works in Boston, became the family's sole source of financial support. The defendant filed a second motion to relocate to Boston with the parties' son to live with her husband. The court denied the motion, finding that the relocation request was for a legitimate purpose, the Boston area was a reasonable and legitimate location to achieve that purpose, but that the proposed relocation was not in the son's best interests. The defendant appealed claiming, first, that the court failed to determine whether it would be in the child's best interests to relocate with the defendant or to remain in Connecticut under a different custodial arrangement. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The relocation statute does not require the analysis claimed. The panel declined to read an additional criterion into the statute. Further, the defendant never made the argument in the lower court. That court would be speculating that the defendant would move even if her motion were denied. She testified that she did not know what she would do. The court did not penalize the defendant for marrying and having children with an out-of-state husband, as claimed, or for making previous relocation requests. The court did not improperly require the defendant to prove that the relocation was an economic necessity, despite its statement that the defendant failed to establish the economic necessity for the relocation. The decision reflected a proper and careful analysis.