deBeaumont v. Goodrich
In deBeaumont v. Goodrich, 162 Vt. 91, 105, 644 A.2d 843, 851 (1994), a mother with sole custody provided generous visitation beyond what the divorce order required. As a result, when she sought to relocate with the children, the Court relied on the de facto "shared custody" arrangement that had evolved since the divorce to find that the mother's move was a changed circumstance. See id. at 98, 644 A.2d at 847.
Thus, deBeaumont established that the de facto custodial arrangements should control the court's analysis, rather than a schedule outlined in a court order. See id. at 96, 98 & n.3, 644 A.2d at 845, 847 & n.3 .
The Court said the parties' stipulation that a move of more than 50 miles "'shall constitute a change in circumstances so the court may reconsider existing parental responsibilities and visitation' . . . provided the family court with a reasonable basis to find changed circumstances."
However, the court held it "would not give effect to an 'automatic change' provision 'because it is premised on a mere speculation of what the best interests of the children may be at a future date.'" 644 A.2d at 846.