Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ciesluk v. Ciesluk case brief

Ciesluk v. Ciesluk case brief summary
113 P.3d 135 (2005)

Appellant mother sought review of judgment of the Colorado Court of Appeals that affirmed the trial court's order denying her motion to modify parenting time pursuant to Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-129 (2004). The mother had filed the modification motion requesting that she be allowed to relocate to Arizona with her son in order to take a new job. The trial court found it was not in her son's best interests to relocate.

The mother claimed the 1999 amendment of § 14-10-129 did not affect the presumption in favor of the majority time parent in relocation cases, and that the trial court erred in requiring her to show that the modification of parenting time would "enhance" her son.

  • The court held that § 14-10-129, as amended, eliminated the three-part Francis test used to determine whether a proposed move was in the best interests of the child, including the presumption in favor of the majority time parent seeking relocation. 
  • Instead, both parents equally shared the burden of demonstrating what was in the child's best interests. 
  • The court held that the trial court abused its discretion under § 14-10-129(2)(c) where it prematurely concluded that it would be in the child's best interests to remain in close proximity to both parents. 
  • The court held that requiring the mother to show that the move would enhance her son's quality of life was a remnant of the Francis test that the legislature did not adopt in amending § 14-10-129, and created a presumption in the father's favor contrary to the legislative intent of § 14-10-129(2)(c). 
  • Also the trial court failed to impose an equal burden on the father.
The court reversed the court of appeals judgment and remanded the case with instructions to return the case to the trial court for further consistent proceedings.

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