One New York judge is proving to be a high-tech Solomon, allowing a Long Island mom to move her children 1,000 miles away from their father — just as long as the Florida-bound kids keep Skyping with their far-off dad.
In a first-of-its-kind ruling, New York State Supreme Court Justice Jerry Garguilo ordered Debra Baker to buy a webcam and set up three-hour-long teleconferences via the program Skype each and every week between her kids and her ex-husband, construction worker James Baker, the New York Law Journal reported.
James Baker asked that his ex-wife and kids remain in the New York area, but with her finances stretched to a breaking point, Debra said she was forced to move in with family in Venice Beach, Fla.
She has been unemployed since December, while her ex-husband, who recently underwent surgery for gall bladder cancer, has been earning a scant $600 a month in take-home pay — and their home is now facing foreclosure, the New York Law Journal reported.
"Common sense, logic and a realistic view of life on Long Island clearly indicate that the Petitioner and children cannot maintain a residence, heat, clothe themselves, provide for transportation and enjoy only the basic necessities on the monies that are currently available," Justice Garguilo wrote.
But one man's "common sense" could be a bit baffling for this dad, who's never used Skype before in his life and might be hard-pressed to keep in touch online with his 9-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter.
"I don't even know if my client knows what Skype is," James Baker's lawyer, Bruce Vetri, told the New York Post. "He's not the most computer-literate guy. I'm not even sure he'll be able to use it."
The Bakers married in 2000 but divorced in 2008.