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Court Decides Custody Battle

A New York Family Lawyer said in the instant case, the mother and the father both filed petitions in the Nassau County Family Court seeking child custody. The father withdrew his petition and the court granted the mother’s petition without conducting an evidentiary hearing. The father filed a petition in the Queens County Family Court, seeking modification of the Nassau County order to award him child custody. After a full evidentiary hearing in the Family Court of Queens County, that court denied the father’s petition.

The father failed to present evidence of a change in circumstances during the three-month period between the granting of the mother’s child custody petition in Nassau County and his petition for modification in Queens County sufficient to warrant a change in custody. Moreover, the testimony and recommendations of the forensic examiner and the child’s therapist that a change in child custody would be detrimental to the well-being of the child were uncontradicted by the record and properly credited by the Family Court. The court’s determination that a change in custody would not be in the child’s best interests was based upon consideration of the totality of the circumstances and had a sound and substantial basis in the record.

A New York Custody Lawyer said in a proceeding to determine child custody, in which the mother cross-petitioned for modification of an order of the Bronx County Family Court granting the father child custody of the parties’ daughter, the father appeals from a dispositional order of the Nassau County Family Court which, after a hearing, granted permanent child custody of the parties’ two children to the mother.

A Long Island Family Lawyer said by petition, the appellant, a resident of Nassau County, requested legal custody of his son. In his petition, he asserted that he had been left with physical custody of his son since March 5, 1988, when the respondent mother moved to the Bronx by herself. However, the evidence adduced at the subsequent hearing reveals that the mother took her son with her when she left.

A Long Island Child Custody Lawyer said in her cross petition, the mother confirmed that until March 1988 she resided with the appellant along with their son their daughter. She alleged that she left the appellant’s residence in March and that he refused to allow her to take their daughter with her. She requested modification of a prior order of the Bronx County Family Court pursuant to which child custody of their daughter had been awarded to the appellant, and further requested permanent custody of the daughter.

The Nassau County Family Court granted temporary child custody of the son to the mother. The daughter remained in the custody of the appellant. After a hearing, the Family Court, in the order appealed from, awarded permanent custody of both children to the mother.

The decision of the Family Court concededly contains certain factual errors which demonstrate that the Family Court misunderstood or misinterpreted certain of the evidence before it. Most importantly, the Family Court was evidently under the misapprehension that the mother’s sister had resided with the parties for several years so as to be in a position to describe their behavior. This finding is not supported by the evidence. Also, the Family Court attributed certain testimony to the mother’s sister which, to the extent that it appears in the record at all, was given by a different less credible witness. Factual errors such as these contributed to the Family Court’s conclusion that the appellant had a history of violent behavior, a finding of fact which is manifestly against the weight of the evidence.

Based upon review of the evidence, the daughter has lived with her father for most of her life, and has been in his sole custody since March 1988. The daughter’s own wish is to remain with her father. The strength of the father’s relationship with his daughter is also reflected in an earlier order of the Bronx County Family Court which transferred custody of the daughter to him upon the mother’s consent. Considering the daughter’s expressed preference, and the fact that the mother previously voluntarily surrendered custody of her daughter to the appellant, and giving paramount consideration to the daughter’s own best interests, the evidence weighs heavily in support of awarding legal custody of the daughter to her father.

With respect to the son, all other things being equal, he should be raised together with his older sister. Aside from this consideration, however, the weight of the evidence established that the appellant’s household provides a more stable environment than that of the mother. The evidence in the record, in its totality, established clearly that in terms of attentiveness to the general welfare of the children the appellant has demonstrated himself to be the better of the two parents and that the interests of both children would best be served by allowing them to be united in his custody.

If children could choose for themselves, they would rather have both parents than choose who is better. When you are faced with custody related dispute, the Nassau County Child Custody Lawyer with the help of the Nassau County Family Attorney from Stephen Bilkis and Associates can win your battle in the courtroom.

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