Samson v. Samson, 2011-CA-002181-ME
Father appeals order granting Mother leave to relocate with Child to Washington State, contending such an Order is not in Child’s best interests.
After marrying in Texas in May 2009, Couple moved to Kentucky and had their only Child there. Both Mother and Father have substance abuse issues and bipolar disorder. Multiple EPO’s were taken out, 2 with Dad as Petitioner and 1 with Mom as Petitioner. In May 2011, Father’s time-sharing with Child was terminated due to positive drug test, but it was re-established in September 2011. In November 2011, they divorced and Mother was granted sole custody of Child. FC ordered a time-sharing evaluation from social worker and the report was incorporated with FC’s order allowing Mother to relocate with Child.
Father argued that social worker’s opinions must be limited because they cannot be related to psychological analysis or credibility of the witnesses and that she acted only as a conduit for the introduction of hearsay testimony. CA held first that the social worker was qualified to give the testimony she did, but that, more importantly, her opinion was only a fraction of the evidence relied upon by FC in granting the relocation request. FC relied upon the testimony of family and friends that, among other things, Mother has no connections to Fayette County; that during their time together, Mother and Father moved repeatedly and there was no real connection to Fayette County for Father either; that neither party has an income; and that both parties have ongoing mental and emotional health issues. CA also held that these facts demonstrated it was in Child’s best interests to relocate with Mother.