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Burgess v. Burgess

Supreme Court of California
913 P.2d 473 (Cal. 1996)


Wendy Burgess (plaintiff) filed a petition for divorce from Paul Burgess (defendant). The trial court entered an order dissolving the marriage and awarding joint legal custody of their two children to Wendy and Paul, sole physical custody to Wendy, and liberal visitation rights to Paul, pursuant to an agreed-upon visitation schedule. At a hearing, Wendy testified that she had accepted a job transfer in a city 40 miles away and intended to move there with the children. Wendy stated that the job was career advancing and would permit the children to have greater access to medical care, extracurricular activities, and good private schools. Paul objected to the relocation and testified that he would not be able to maintain his current visitation schedule with the children if they moved, although he stated that the trip to the new city was an easy commute. The trial court upheld its previous custody-and-visitation order but provided that, upon Wendy’s relocation, Paul would have visitation with the children on alternate weekends, with at least one midweek visitation. Paul filed a motion for reconsideration and a motion for a change in custody. The trial court denied Paul’s reconsideration motion. After a hearing on the motion for a change in custody, the trial court held that Paul had failed to present evidence of a substantial change in circumstances warranting a change in custody. Paul appealed the denial of both motions. The court of appeals reversed and held that Wendy’s relocation was unnecessary. The Supreme Court of California granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Mosk, J.)

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