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Court Decides Custody Battle

Two analogous cases were brought before the court for determination.
In the first case, the mother appeals from an order of the Family Court, Kings County in this custody proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act article 6 dated 2 April 1993, for after a hearing was conducted, the court awarded permanent custody of the parties’ four-year-old daughter to the father.

A New York Family Lawyer said the court orders the reversal of the order insofar as appealed from, on the law and the facts, without costs or disbursements. The mother is awarded permanent custody of the parties’ four-year-old daughter, and the matter is remitted to the Family Court, Kings County, for a determination of a visitation schedule for the father.

A New York Custody Lawyer said on 16 April 1990, the parties’ judgment of divorce awarded custody of their two daughters to the mother. Custody was awarded to the mother based primarily on the older daughter’s claim that her mother left the two daughters home alone on the night of 20 March 1992, which is not fully substantiated or resolved in the record. The father petitioned for temporary custody of the daughters. After a hearing on the issue of temporary custody, the court appointed a psychologist, recognized for her expertise in custody and visitation matters, to conduct an investigation and prepare a report on the question of the permanent custody of the children. In the interim, the father was given temporary custody, with visitation rights to the mother.

A Nassau County Family Lawyer said that after an intensive investigation, the psychologist recommended that the court split the custody arrangements between the parties, permitting the older daughter to remain with her father, as she desired. In spite of the sisters’ close relationship and a preference for keeping the siblings together, in a thorough and carefully reasoned 22-page report, the psychologist concluded that the mother is more fitted to be a custodian for the younger daughter. She explained, among other things, that the four-year-old had closely bonded with her mother, with whom she had spent the first three and one-half years of her life. Moreover, the mother allowed the daughter to freely express and develop her emotional and intellectual capacities, whereas the father was more didactic and demanded compliance, even if indirectly.
The law recognizes that it is often desirable and in a child’s best interests to continue to live with siblings. As a precedent, Eschbach v Eschbach emphasized that which is an important factor for the court to consider, it is not determinative of the issue of custody. A split custody determination has also been recognized as proper when, as here, the best interests of each child would be served by granting custody of each child to a different parent as was held in the cases of Klat v Klat, Matter of Bilodeau v Bilodeau and Wurm v Wurm.

In making its determination, the court placed undue reliance on the perceptions and desires of the older daughter, which then became the basis for awarding custody to the father on the principle that it is desirable to keep siblings together. Moreover, the court ignored other factors cited by the courts that are particularly pertinent to this case, i.e., the child’s original placement and each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s emotional and intellectual needs. These principles are based on cases of Eschbach v Eschbach, Matter of Nera v Uhlar, Matter of Lobo and Klat v Klat.

A Staten Island Family Lawyer said that accordingly, the court’s determination lacks a substantial basis in the record and is reversed.

In the second case, Attorney A, the attorney for the child, appeals from an order of the Family Court, Kings County, in this custody and visitation proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act article 6, dated 30 November 2010 which granted the petitioner father’s motion to dismiss the maternal grandmother’s cross petition for custody of the subject child and granted the father’s petition for custody of the child subject of this case.

The court dismisses the appeal as academic without costs or disbursements.
As was held in the case of Matter of Merando v Vantassel, the child who is the subject of this case is now over 18 years of age and is no longer subject to the order appealed from and the appeal must be dismissed as academic.
Kings County Child Custody Attorneys, Kings County Child Visitation Attorneys and Stephen Bilkis & Associates are excellent representatives of child custody and visitation cases. If you are encountering this type of legal problem, please do not hesitate to call our office or visit our firm. A group of lawyers in this field of expertise will gladly assist you with your legal needs.

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