Articles Posted in Custody

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2017 Slip Op 01676

Decision

This is an appeal, filed in Queens County, by the plaintiff from an Order to Show Cause. The OSC granted the defendants application to restrain the plaintiff from transferring their minor child from a school in Queens to a school in Nassau County. The court granted a motion to stay enforcement of the TRO, pending a hearing.

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This private placement adoption action presents a number of intertwined legal issues that highlight the shortcomings of the private placement adoption statutes in New York State. The infant who is the subject of the case has now been in the home of the petitioners since February 21, 1998 without the benefit of a valid adoption consent from the parents or a currently valid pre-adoption certification order. The adoption agency that originally accepted custody of the child is no longer supervising this placement because it was not licensed in the state where the child was born. Additionally, the fees charges by the principals involved may not be entirely allowable under New York State law.

Background This petition was filed in Kings County Family Court by Mrs. M and Mr. M. on June 10, 1999 seeking adoption of a male child born 2/19/98 in Biddeford, Maine to Mrs. P. Mr. P is listed as the child’s father. The petition alleges that the child has been in the care of the petitioners since 2/21/98.

A review of documents filed supplementing the adoption petition indicates that while petitioners were found to be qualified adoptive parents pursuant to Domestic Relations Law § 115-d by order of Kings County Surrogate’s Court dated 1/13/94, at the time this petition was filed in the Family Court on June 10, 1999 the petitioners were no longer certified as qualified adoptive parents. Surrogate’s Court extended the original certification order until 2/1/96 when it lapsed. Apparently, the Surrogate permitted Mr. and Mrs. M. to apply for “recertification” and issued a one-year order on January 5, 1998 that continued until January 5, 1999.

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January 22, 2016

Attorney for Petitioner was Maria V. De La Cruz of Jamaica. The attorney for the defendant was Heather Lothrop of Kew Gardens.

The respondent Sandy C. filed for an Order Compelling the Petitioner, Carlos L., to serve a bill of particulars, which is granted (Civil Practice Law and Rules sec. 3041. 3042 [a]).

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Slip Op 07087

October 27, 2017

This is regarding an order for disposition regarding four children, entered on August 2014, and brings up an issue of a fact-finding order. It was concluded that the father (respondent) had neglected the children, which was affirmed. The order was affirmed to the degree that it was found that the father had neglected a fifth child. A subsequent appeal on this issue was dismissed.

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April 26, 2016

The biological mother (petitioner) Beverly L. surrendered her parental rights of her 2 daughters Kendall and Brooke, and her son Zachary. She signed a Judicial Conditional Surrender reserving the right to visit her children and has done so many times.

The mother filed 2 different orders to show cause to obtain custody of her children due to a failed adoption by the respondent. The mother tells several disturbing stories where both of her daughters were sexually abused by two different men. One child was abused by the adoptive father, the other child was abused by an unrelated third party. The boy was reported bullied in the adoptive home.

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This case calls upon the Appellate Court to consider the validity of a rule that was decided 25 years ago, in the Matter of Alison D. (77 NY2d 651 [1991]). In this case, an unmarried same-sex couple questioned the rights of responsibilities of having a child, in light of the fact that there was no biological connection between one of the parents and the child. This case discussed the rule that with an unmarried couple, a partner without a biological connection to a child is not considered the child’s parent in terms of standing to bring an action for custody or visitation due to the Domestic Relations Law sec. 70, 77 NY 2d 655). The Petitioners in this case ask for custody and visitation of the child. This court agrees that the rule that has been used through the years regarding this issue is no longer workable.

The parties entered into a romantic relationship and moved in with each other. In 2007, the Petition and Respondent registered as partners and later decided to have a child through artificial insemination. In February of 2008, the Respondent became pregnant. The Respondent had a child, and the Petitioner was there to support the Respondent in every way. The next several years were spent raising the child. But in 2012, they unfortunately decided to end their relationship.

In October of 2012, they began an action seeking child support from the Petitioner. The Petitioner denied any liability in the matter, and also countersued for visitation.

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This case calls on the court to assess the continued fairness of a rule discussed originally in a case known as the Matter of Alison D in Virginia (77 NY 2d 651 [1991]/ Where an unmarried couple has a child, and one partner doesn’t have a biological connection to the child. This affects the child’s parent in terms of standing to seek custody and visitation pursuant to Domestic Relations Law section 70 (77 NY 2d 655). The petitioners seek custody and visitation in the present case. The court agrees that the definition of a parent as established in the older case has now become unfair.

The Petitioner and Respondent were involved in a romantic relationship back in 2006 and subsequently announced their engagement. It was only just a gesture because legally at the time the couple could not get married. Same-sex marriage was not legal in New York, and they did not have the resources to travel out of state.

They decided to have a child together. In 2008, the respondent became pregnant via artificial insemination. The Petitioner was involved throughout the pregnancy. They raised the child jointly as a couple. However, in 2013, their relationship ended.

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