Loudoun Judge Bars 10-year-old Golfer from Competing

A Loudoun judge has told a 10-year-old girl who’s been described as a prodigy on the golf course she cannot compete.

The girl is at the center of a custody battle between her two parents, Michael Vechery and Florence Cottet-Moine.

As part of a custody order filed June 7, Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Irby ruled that their daughter could not play competitive golf for one year.

That’s a big deal for a kid who’s winning golf tournaments up and down the East Coast, and has her sights set on a professional career on the golf course. The Washington Post reported last fall that she won the all-ages women’s division 2015 club championships for Algonkian Golf Course in Sterling. She shot an 84 on the first 18-hole round she’d ever played. Young golfers typically play 9-hole tournaments.

Last year, she won 15 out of the 19 tournaments in which she competed, Vechery said.

“I don’t think there’s anybody, at her age and at 68 pounds, who’s played the amount of golf she’s played and has played the way that she has,” Vechery said.

Adam Harrell, with Elite Performance Golf Academy in Leesburg, said the girl’s father is her primary coach, but he has given the girl a lesson or two.

“She’s having a lot of success,” he said. “She wins everything in her age group. She’s a good young player.”

It’s unclear why Judge Irby banned the girl from competing on the course. The custody order read: “[the girl] shall not be permitted to play competitive golf for one year. Competitive golf is defined by the court as no tournaments and no lessons with any golf pro with the exception of the Father. The Father and [daughter] may play no more than one (1) round of golf per week or five (5) hours with putting and practice whichever is greater.”

Vechery said he and his daughter are most upset that the custody ruling means less time together.

The order gives the mother, Cottet-Moine, sole legal custody and primary physical custody of her daughter.

Jonathan Rochkind, Cottet-Moine’s attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


4 thoughts on “Loudoun Judge Bars 10-year-old Golfer from Competing

  • Pingback: Family Court Judge in Child Custody Dispute Orders That Young Prodigy With Career Potential and Shot at Full Tuition College Scholarship Cannot Play Competitively or Train Professionally For a Year | Florida Divorce * Child Custody * Domestic Violence Law

  • 2016-07-01 at 5:52 pm

    This is a good start, a local newspaper reporting on this type of decision. It has been suggested that all hearings are videotaped, so as to allow monitoring of judicial behavior. There has to be an effective of way of overseeing judicial behavior, that would allow the citizens to review and critique judges.

    The Judicial Selection process in Virginia is very secretive with no oversight and very little public input. These types of decisions are to be expected when the judges are not watched with a critical eye.
    Thumbs up to Loudoun Now for running this story.

  • 2016-06-30 at 5:40 pm

    That’s it. punish the child for the dysfunction of the parents…. Very progressive.

  • 2016-06-30 at 4:28 pm

    What else is new? Judge Jeanette “I make up imaginary facts to support my ruling” Irby thinks she knows best for what a little girl wants to do. Maybe Judge Irby should re-read Meyer v Nebraska or Troxel v Granville. It doesn’t matter what the court thinks is best, it’s what the parents think is best.

    Unfortunately in this case, the mother likely didn’t want the girl playing golf to get back at the father. And shockingly, Irby took the word of the mother hook, line and sinker. Can somebody research how we recall Irby so citizens are not punished for the rest of her term?

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