APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION
Pfefer, Petitioner-Appellant, and ARIEL
529 N.E.2d 780, 175 Ill. App. 3d 184, 124 Ill. Dec. 799 1988.IL.1408
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Barbara J. Disko, Judge, presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE JIGANTI delivered the opinion of the court. JOHNSON and McMORROW, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE JIGANTI
Petitioner, Susan Pfefer (formerly Susan Zamarripa-Gesundheit), appeals from the denial of her petition for leave to remove the parties' daughter, Dafna, 11 years old at the time of the hearing, from Illinois to Seattle, Washington. Petitioner's only argument on appeal is that the trial court's Conclusion that the best interest of the child is served by denying the petition for removal is against the manifest weight of the evidence.
Petitioner and respondent, Ariel Zamarripa, were married in 1973. The parties' marriage was dissolved in 1983. Custody of the parties' only child, Dafna, was awarded to petitioner subject to the visitation rights of Ariel. Susan remarried in December of 1986. In March of 1987, Susan filed a petition for leave to remove Dafna from Illinois, to Seattle, Washington. The basis for the removal was that Susan's second husband, Martin Pfefer, was transferred to Seattle.
A hearing was held at which Susan, Martin, and Ariel testified. Dafna was interviewed by the trial Judge in camera.
Martin testified that he has been employed by the postal service for the last 16 years. He was a letter carrier for six years and has been a postal inspector in Chicago for 10 years. Martin was required to remain in Chicago with the postal service until February 1986. At that time he requested a transfer to Seattle, Washington. This was before he was engaged to Susan. He had always dreamed of living in Seattle and settling with a family. In his opinion, Seattle is one of the most "liveable" cities in the United States. He has visited Seattle several times by himself and with Susan and Dafna.
When Martin initially applied for the transfer, he did not know if and when it would be approved. When he married Susan in December of 1986, he still did not know if he would be transferred. Martin's transfer was eventually approved in April of 1987. Martin accepted the transfer and was scheduled to report to Seattle on June 22, 1987. Because Martin wanted to remain in Chicago until the matter of removal was resolved, he asked for an extension of time to report to Seattle until July 15, 1987.
Prior to the time that he received notice of the transfer, Martin could have withdrawn his request. However, once the transfer became effective, Martin did not have the option to stay and bid on another job with the postal service in Chicago. Martin testified that if he does not report to Seattle, he is in effect fired. If he were to leave the postal service now, he would lose many of his benefits which have accumulated over the years. Martin stated that he currently earns approximately $50,000 per year, which is what he would earn in Seattle.
Susan testified that Dafna currently attends Solomon Schechter school and, although Susan is not obligated under the divorce decree to pay for a private education, it is important to both Susan and Ariel that Dafna continue her Jewish education. Susan has looked at a private Jewish day school for Dafna in Seattle and has spoken with the vice-principal of the school and several teachers. The Jewish school in Seattle is comparable to the school which Dafna currently attends. Although Dafna ...