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Court Reviews Joint Custody Agreement


This is a case being heard in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. The petitioner and appellant of this case is Leroy D. West Sr. The respondent in this case is Racquel Vanderhorst. A New York Family Lawyer the petitioner and appellant in this case Leroy D. West Sr. is appealing an order that was made by the Referee Elizabeth Barnett in the Family Court of Bronx County. The order awarded the respondent mother, Racquel Vanderhorst with sole legal and physical custody of the parties’ child. The petitioner father was given visitation rights in the order.

Case Discussion

When reviewing the facts of the case, the determination that was made by the Referee to modify the joint custody agreement of the couple was made on a substantial basis. The record shows that after the judgment for divorce was granted to the couple there was a complete breakdown of communication between the couple. A New York Custody Lawyer said there was an instance of domestic violence that occurred in the presence of the child. This made the possibility of joint custody as was agreed to in the divorce agreement, impossible.

The record also shows that eh petitioner violated the stipulation for joint custody that was made in the divorce agreement by not allowing the respondent to contact the child while he was with the petitioner. The petitioner also refused to alert the respondent that the child had been put in the hospital.

The respondent showed a willingness to foster a relationship between the child and the petitioner. Unfortunately, a Nassau County Family Lawyer said the petitioner did not reciprocate this and in fact tried to ruin the relationship between the child and the respondent.

The referee determined that allowing the child to relocate to the respondent’s home in New Jersey was permissible under the stipulation made in the divorce agreement of the parties. It was determined that modifying the visitation schedule for the petitioner was in the best interest of the child.

The petitioner argues that the stipulation in the divorce agreement requires the child to attend a religious school. However, the court does not find this to be the case.

Court Decision

When reviewing all of the facts of the case it is determined that the referee made the correct decision regarding the custody arrangement of the child. It is in the child’s best interest to live with the respondent mother. For these reasons the court rules in favor of the respondent. The previous ruling made in the Bronx County Family Court by Referee Elizabeth Barnett is affirmed without costs. A Queens Family Lawyer the mother will retain full legal and physical custody of the child and the father will be granted visitation rights.

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