Richard A. Mullen - Page 7

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               According to petitioner, his residence during 2003                     
          constituted the principal place of abode for both of his children           
          for more than one-half of 2003.  Petitioner testified that during           
          2003, the children were with him for more days than suggested in            
          the schedule set forth in the separation agreement.  Ms.                    
          DiBiccari, who was called as a witness by respondent, agreed that           
          the schedule set forth in the separation agreement was not                  
          honored during 2003, but she testified that the children were at            
          petitioner’s residence for fewer days than suggested in the                 
          agreement.  When questioned by petitioner during cross-                     
          examination regarding her proof on this point she responded:                
          “Well, I guess it’s my word against yours”.                                 
               As far as the parties are concerned, the resolution of this            
          factual dispute effectively resolves the contested issues in this           
          case.  Apparently, the parties expect that the word “principal,”            
          as used in the phrase “principal place of abode” in the above-              
          cited sections should be construed or defined with reference to             
          time spent at competing locations; i.e., the residence where the            
          children spent the majority of the year constitutes their                   
          principal place of abode.  Although this is not an unreasonable             
          expectation, under the circumstances, placing the children at the           
          residence of either parent on any given day during 2003 is                  
          neither determinative nor illustrative, and is therefore                    

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