LaMusga v. LaMusga
Text of letter of July 8, 2003 from Kim M. Robinson Esq. to Gary LaMusga

Law Office of Kim M. Robinson
2938 Adeline Street
Oakland, California 94608-4410
Telephone: (510) 832-7117
Facsimile: (510) 834-3301

July 8, 2003


Gary LaMusga
2694 Bishop Dr., Suite 208
San Ramon, CA 94583

RE: Marriage of LaMusga
Contra Costa Co. No.: D95-01136
Supreme Court No.: S107355

Dear Mr. LaMusga:

I am writing to notify you that Susan Navarro's move to Arizona with her family -- which I advised you at hearings in May and June would take place by August 1, 2003 -- is now in progress. She and the children, along with her husband and their 3-year-old daughter, have arrived in the Phoenix area and will be staying with Ms. Navarro's brother-in-law until approximately mid-July. They can be contacted as follows:

Dxxxxx and Txxx Navarro
Mesa, Arizona xxxxx

For the next week or so, you will be able to speak with the children by telephone using the same cell phone number you already have -- -- or the above phone number. On approximately July 15, Susan and her family will move into a home they have purchased along with her aged and infirm mother, Catherine Poston, who now requires home care and is being moved from Houston to Phoenix to live with her daughter and grandchildren. As soon as the family has moved into their new home, Ms. Navarro will provide you with their new address and home telephone number.

This move to Arizona is, of course, the subject of my client's motion to modify visitation that was filed in September 2002, and for which the Court has yet to set a long-cause hearing date. As you know, there is also a mediation scheduled for later this afternoon which Ms. Navarro has received permission to participate in by telephone.

My understanding of Family Code section 7501 and the Supreme Court's decision in Burgess is that Ms. Navarro, as sole custodial parent of Garrett and Devlen, is allowed to make a good-faith move prior to obtaining a modification of visitation to accommodate the move. Notwithstanding her presumptive right to make such a move, in an attempt to avoid any uncertainty Ms. Navarro filed a motion to modify visitation before relocating, just as she had done in 1996 and 2001 prior to her intended moves to Ohio.

Specifically, in our September 2002 motion to modify visitation, we informed you and the Court of Mr. Navarro's opportunity for a career-enhancing job in the Phoenix area, and of Ms. Navarro's intention to relocate so that he could accept the offer without splitting up their family as had previously occurred when Mr. Navarro lived and worked in Ohio for 10 months in 2001 while Susan and the children remained behind, pending completion of the legal proceedings. Although the hearing before the Court will not take place until an as yet to be determined date in the future, the job offer (which will literally double Mr. Navarro's income and make it possible for them to buy a house for the first time), was due to expire on July 1. Accordingly, in open court on May 29 and again on June 16 I informed you and the Court hat Ms. Navarro and her family would be moving by August 1, 2003 (before school starts in mid-August), in order for Mr. Mr. Navarro to accept the employment opportunity.

Ms. Navarro greatly regrets that, despite her motion filed last September, no revised visitation schedule has yet been announced for the period following her move. However, given the scheduled July 8 mediation and July 16 hearing dates, we anticipate that a new visitation schedule will be in place before the children start school in mid-August.

As was discussed in open court on June 16, there is no order precluding Ms. Navarro from relocating to the Phoenix area with the children. Judge Bruiniers' prior decision in August 2001, now pending review in the California Supreme Court, directed that custody of the children be transferred temporarily to you if Ms. Navarro moved to Ohio, but by its express terms applied only to that move. The planned move to Cleveland has, of course, been moot since February 2002 when Mr. Navarro resigned from his favorable Ohio job (the current Arizona job is even more favorable) and returned to his family in the Bay area. Similarly, the therapy that you and the children had been undergoing with Barry Tuggle to improve your relationship -- on which Judge Bruiniers' order placed "primary importance" to the disregard of the children's psychologically more stable relationship with their principal caregiver, their mother -- has also become moot in the interim because Mr. Tuggle announced in April 2002 that the children no longer needed to see him.

I look forward to devising a visitation schedule that will appropriately accommodate the legitimate interests of all three parties in this matter -- you, Ms. Navarro, and especially the children -- by providing less frequent but longer blocks of visitation time with you in order to promote "continuing contacts" with the children. Ms. Navarro intends to continue to foster and hopes to sustain your frequent and continuing contacts by means of e-mail, telephone, correspondence, regular visitation, and vacations.

Very truly yours,

Kim M. Robinson

cc: Susan Navarro
Judge John W. Kennedy
Tish Reese, Mediator
Chief Justice Ronald M. George

See Reporter's Transcript of proceedings held on August 23, 2001, p. 108.