A New York Family Lawyer said the couple was married and had four children together: a 12 year old; a 10 year old; a 9 year old; and a 7 year old. The father left the marital residence and a divorce action was commenced the following month. Following a trial on the issues of equitable distribution, child support, and maintenance held in April 1991, a memorandum decision was issued. Although the father had, during the early stages of the divorce action, stipulated to the mother having custody of the children, he moved, by order to show cause among other things, for a change of child custody to him, with the mother to be given only supervised visitation based upon what he claimed to be the mother’s bizarre and dangerous behavior which was calculated to destroy the children’s relationship with him.
A New York Custody Lawyer said in primary part, the father referred to the mother’s persistent and uncorroborated allegations that he was sexually abusing their children, her continuing to make new claims of abuse even though all other claims had been determined to be unfounded. He suggested the possibility that the mother herself may have caused the youngest child’s vaginal and rectal area to become reddened prior to the mother’s bringing her to the hospital. The father further noted the mother’s ongoing interference with visitation by various other means, including making accusations of sexual abuse and warning him not to engage in such activities in the presence of the children. In the father’s view, a change in child custody was critical to the children’s well-being and mental health.
A Suffolk County Family Lawyer said the mother opposed the application, and the matter was subsequently referred for a hearing before Judicial Hearing Officer. Since the original Law Guardian had died in the interim after having issued his report in the matrimonial matter recommending that the father have unsupervised visitation, the court appointed a new Law Guardian for the children as well as a psychiatrist to conduct forensic examinations and to make a recommendation as to child custody.