Courts want children to have access to both parents and want children to have the opportunity to have positive, loving relationships with both parents. As a result, unless there are convincing reasons not to, the court will order joint custody. This has been found to be in the best interests of the child. However, when parents demonstrate an unwillingness to support the child having a positive relationship with the other parent, the court will adjust custody. In the Matter of T.D. v E.P.B., the Family Court was asked to modify a custody order after the father’s repeatedly limited the mother’s access to the child and removed the child from New York.
The parents have one child who was born in 2015. In 2016, Family Court ordered joint legal and physical custody of the child. However, the father dominated the relationship, making decisions without including the mother. With the help of this girlfriend, he even convinced her to sign an out-of-court agreement that purported to give him sole custody and the mother supervised visitation. In 2020, the father relocated to Florida with the child and without the consent of the mother.