Long Island’s Best Divorce Lawyer said this appeal was the result of an order partially granting Petitioner Father’s application to modify a prior order of custody and visitation. While the Father was incarcerated custody of the three children was awarded to the maternal grandparents. In anticipation of his release from prison, Father commenced a proceeding where he was seeking the custody of the youngest child. Ultimately, the Court determined the Father to be an untreated sex offender. An order was entered modifying the supervised visitation schedule, however any future custody modification was to be conditioned on the Father completing sex offender treatment. This appeal followed.
A Nassau County Child Custody Lawyer said the Father’s grounds for the appeal were he had been denied the effective assistance of counsel. The Family Court’s decision was made without holding a fact-finding hearing and based on evidence outside the record. The Father challenged the accuracy of the evidence which came from the attorney for the children. The Appellate Division overturned the Family Court’s decision ruling that the Family Court “improperly relief upon the attorney for the children as both an investigative arm of the court and as an advisor, referring to her as the court’s ‘quarterback’ and regularly deferring to her recommendations in reaching is determinations.” The Appellate Division went on citing the failure of the Father’s counsel to object to the Family Court’s improper use of the attorney for the children, as well as the failure to request a fact-finding hearing regarding the sex offender treatment. As a result, the Father’s representation was rendered “less than meaningful.”
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