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Does Re-Marriage Justify Change in Custody?


A couple was married in New York sometime on April 7, 1979. They had a daughter who was born on November 28, 1980. A New York Family Lawyer said tht two years after their daughter was born, the woman sought a divorce from her husband. The woman was granted custody of the child while the divorce case was being heard.

In February 24, 1983, the mother and father made oral stipulations where the parties agreed that their daughter will remain with the mother and the father will have liberal visitation rights.
The order of divorce was honored by the mother and the father except for some instances when the mother took her daughter to the Bahamas for a vacation in 1985. A New York Custody Lawyer said while on vacation there, the mother met a Canadian who was also divorced and had two sons. The Canadian was a resident of Montreal where he had a business.

The mother entered into a personal and a business relationship with the Canadian. She was hired as a consultant for the Canadian’s business. Because of this she began traveling back and forth to Montreal. She took her daughter with her whenever she went to Montreal. This disrupted their daughter’s school attendance.

In 1986, the mother took her daughter for a vacation in Montreal and while they were there, the woman decided to relocate to Montreal with her daughter. She made this decision without informing, notifying or consulting her husband of the family court.

When the father learned that his ex-wife was relocating to Montreal with her daughter, he applied to the family court for a transfer of custody of their child from his ex-wife to him. In his application he stated that his wife has not allowed him visitation with his daughter because her daughter was always travelling from Montreal to New York and from New York to Montreal. A Nassau County Family Lawyer said that he also claimed that all the travelling that his daughter has been doing has made her miss school and his ex-wife has not made sure that their daughter attended school regularly. The family court issued a restraining order against the ex-wife prohibiting her from taking her child to Montreal while the application of her husband for transfer of custody was being heard. The Court also granted the father temporary custody over his daughter in New York while his application for a transfer of custody is being heard.
The woman married her Canadian business partner on November 7, 1986. She then appealed the order of the family court granting her husband’s application for a transfer of custody. In her appeal, she contends that her remarriage to a Canadian citizen should be considered an exceptional circumstance which will allow the change of domicile of their child.

The only question in this appeal is whether or not the remarriage of the mother who has custody of her child is an exceptional circumstance that justifies a change in the visitation schedule of the father.

The Court held that remarriage does not automatically allow for a change in the custody arrangement or the visitation schedule. A hearing must still be held to determine the best interest of the child.

The Court held that the family court did not abuse its discretion when it granted temporary custody to the father when the family court used as basis for its order, the best interest of the child.

The Court found that the evidence produced before the family court showed that the child has strong family relationships with her grandparents from both the father’s and mother’s side. The mother violated the terms of the visitation and custody agreement in the divorce decree when she failed to inform and notify her ex-husband of her relocation with their child to Montreal. A Queens Family Lawyer said that he also failed to uphold the best interest of her child when she allowed her to miss out going to school regularly because of the frequent visits they made to Montreal.

Clearly, the best interest of their child is to stay in New York with her father and her grandparents and extended family and to regularly attend school. The family court’s order granting a transfer of custody is affirmed. The mother’s appeal is dismissed.

Are you like the father in this case who wants a transfer of custody over his child? You need the assistance of a New York City Child Custody Lawyer to help you present evidence of the unfitness of your ex-wife to have custody of your child. Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates, speak with any of their NYC Child Custody Attorneys and ask advice as to how best to present your application.

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