Michael Bertin Discusses Relocation Custody Cases in The Legal Intelligencer

August 15, 2023

In an article published in The Legal Intelligencer on August 14, 2023, partner and co-chair of the family law group, Michael Bertin, discusses relocation custody cases in PA. In his article, titled “Superior Court Reiterates That ‘Gruber’ Case Has Been Superseded by Custody Act,” Michael analyzed the recent Pennsylvania Superior Court case of Carrero v. Lopez, 2023 Pa. Super. 140 (July 28, 2023), which addressed the relocation section of the Custody Act of 2011. 

Relocation cases are some of the most difficult and emotional child custody cases.

In the recent case of Carrero, the trial court denied the mother’s petition to relocate to Florida. The father in this case lived in Rhode Island. All of the mother’s support system resided in Florida. Two of the mother’s matters complained of on appeal were as follows: “Did the trial court commit an error of law by failing to properly weigh the relocation factors in light of [Gruber v. Gruber] and related case law, and did the trial court commit an error of law by imposing on [Mother] the requirement to demonstrate a separate benefit to the children, although the significant benefit flowing from the mother, as the custodial parent, had been established?” The Superior Court reiterated that the Gruber case and its progeny were decided before the Legislature enacted the current iteration of the Child Custody Act in 2011.

The Carrero case is very important for the practitioner and the bench. It reiterates that when a statute is passed that broadens prior case law and creates a conflict, the statute prevails. Prior to the enactment of the Custody Act, most child custody law was governed by case law and doctrines. This case provides a road map of what happens when the two intersect.

Read the full article here.