Shared custody more important than short trip to school

When a Pennsylvania couple divorced, they were given shared custody of their son. Sometime later, the father moved to a new community 11 miles away. As a result, when the son was staying with the father, he had a longer trip to school. (The couple disagreed about how much longer the commute was, but it was arguably up to 40 minutes.)

The mother went to court and argued that she should be given primary custody because the longer commute was disruptive, and prevented the child from developing stable roots and routines. A judge agreed with her. But the father appealed.

On appeal, the court sided with the father, and said the shared custody arrangement should continue. The court acknowledged that a 40-minute car ride could be an inconvenience, but it said there was no evidence that it was causing any harm to the child. In general, the court said, the value to the son of maintaining a strong relationship with his father outweighed the value of a quicker trip to school.