September 14, 2015 – In I.L.H. v. A.H. (Sup. Ct. Nassau Co. Aug. 31, 2015), Court Attorney Referee Marie McCormack ordered joint legal and physical custody of the parties’ two children, where each parent sought sole legal and physical custody for him/herself. The Court found that both parents were involved in the children’s lives, the children enjoyed spending time with both parents, both parents sought to encourage a relationship between the children and the other parent, the level of conflict between the parents was not serious enough to warrant denying joint custody, and there was no pattern of domestic violence shown. The parent’s close proximity to each other also made joint custody feasible. Accordingly, joint custody was in the children’s best interest.
September 4, 2015 – In Matter of Olivia S. v. Joseph S. (Fam. Ct. Rockland Co. Aug. 17, 2015), Judge Sherri Eisenpress denied a motion from the Commissioner of Social Services (CSS) to restrain respondents from calling a CSS expert to testify at a continued hearing. The Court believed that it could benefit from the expert’s testimony, given that the expert had opined to CSS regarding the child’s genetic test results, which opinion was shared with respondents, and factored into CSS’s decision to seek the child’s removal and conclude that imminent risk could not be avoided by a continued protective order against the respondents.
September 1, 2015 – In S.R.E.B. v. E.K.E.B. (Sup. Ct. Kings Co. Aug. 6, 2015), Justice Jeffrey Sunshine found the discovery of travel records, and audio and video files were relevant and necessary to the Court’s final decision on custody, where the wife claimed that the husband traveled 8 to 10 days out of every month, defeating his claim that he was the children’s primary caretaker. The Court further ordered that the husband’s failure to produce the requested documents may result in a preclusion order.
September 1, 2015 – In O.Y. v. A.G. (Sup. Ct. Westchester Co. Aug. 13, 2015), Justice Lawrence Ecker found the wife’s deferred dowry contract, executed by her uncle as her proxy in Egypt, giving her $131 upon the husband’s death or the parties’ divorce, was unenforceable in New York. Accordingly, the Court granted the wife’s motion to dismiss the husband’s affirmative defenses relative to it, and estopped the wife from seeking recovery of the $131 due her.
August 27, 2015 – In Moreno v. Basilio Pena, 15-CV-2372 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 19, 2015), Judge J. Paul Oetken denied the mother’s petition for a child’s return to the Dominican Republic under the Hague Convention, where the child had obtained “green card” status to stay in the United States, where the parties allegedly decided she would stay with the father indefinitely while attending school, and the mother failed to show that the father had violated her custody rights over the child.
August 25, 2015 – In Matter of D.T. v. V.T. (Fam. Ct. Onondaga Co. July 16, 2015), Judge Michael Hanuszczak awarded sole legal and physical custody of a child to the child’s father, after finding that the mother had willfully violated an order of custody by denying the father parental access for over one month. The Court noted that even though the father was unemployed, he had stable housing and family support, while the mother’s inappropriate behavior at a number of exchanges and willful violation of the custody order was detrimental to the child.
August 21, 2015 – In J.L. v. M.L. (Sup. Ct. Nassau Co. July 22, 2015), Justice Jeffrey Goodstein granted a mother’s request to relocate to Florida, where the child’s father spent only about 16 hours per month with the child, with no overnight or midweek visits, never attempted telephone contact, and was nearly $100,000 in child support arrears. The Court concluded that permitting the relocation would be in the child’s best interests, but that the mother must pay for the cost of the airfare for the child to and from New York for the father’s New York visits.
August 20, 2015 – In Paredes Sanguineti v. Boqvist, 15-CV-3159 (S.D.N.Y. July 24, 2015), Judge P. Kevin Castel found that conditional consent to retention of a child in the United States may be based upon implied conditions; here, that the mother would move to New York, live with the child and the child’s father as a family, and eventually marry the father. The Court found that the mother’s conditional consent was violated when the father revealed that he would not marry the mother, and would no longer seek immigration papers on her behalf. Accordingly, the Court ordered the child returned to the mother in Canada under the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
August 14, 2015 – In Matter of Sylvia S. v. Peter W., V-17556/14 (Fam. Ct. Queens Co. Aug. 6, 2015), Judge John Hunt awarded a wife 75% of her counsel fees, instead of the 100% requested, noting the income disparities of the parties, the fact that the wife was not indigent, and nothing indicated that the wife was unable to pay for some of the fees charged by her counsel.
August 11, 2015 – In B.K. v. J.N. (Sup. Ct. Richmond Co. July 30, 2015), Justice Catherine Didomenico awarded a father sole legal and physical custody of the parties’ special needs child, finding that the father was better suited to meet the child’s special needs, the mother had only recently begun to accept that the child was a special needs child, and the mother’s violent criminal history militated against an award of custody. The Court further found that the mother’s petty inflexibility indicated that she was not interested in fostering a relationship between the child and father, making her “less fit” to parent the child.
August 10, 2015 – In T.K. v. D.K., 202042/2011 (Sup. Ct. Nassau Co. July 17, 2015), Justice Leonard Steinman separated siblings by awarding sole custody of the parties’ daughter to the father and the sons to the mother. The Court found that separating the siblings was only way to maintain the daughter’s relationship with the father, after the mother had turned the sons against him. The Court declined to award sole custody of the sons to the father, fearing that it would only foster more animosity from and by the sons against him.