Father Awarded Sole Custody of Children as a Result of Modification

A Long Island Child Custody Lawyer said this appeal was the result of the Family Court’s modification of a child custody arrangement. The two children of this arrangement were 17 and six years of age. The original arrangement provided for joint legal custody of the The children, with physical custody to the mother and visitation to the father. The mother and father had separated in January 2010, however in May 2011 the mother had consented to a finding of neglect of both children. Thereafter, joint physical custody of the older child was ordered (each party having custody on alternating weeks) and joint legal custody of the children continued with physical custody of the younger child remaining with the mother, with visitation to the father.

The father filed modification petitions with the Family Court seeking sole custody of the children. Following a fact-finding hearing and a Lincoln hearing with the older child, the father’s modification was granted (he was awarded custody of the children, liberal visitation to the mother). This appeal followed. The standard for a modification of a custody arrangement is that there must be a “showing of a change of circumstances reflecting a real need for change in order to insure the continued best interest[s] of the child[ren].” The Appellate Court found that the father met his burden of showing a change of circumstances. The Family Court considered and the Appellate Court agreed that it was in the best interests of the children to be in the father’s custody.

The older child, a special needs student, had struggled in school while in the mother’s custody. He was described as a “behavioral problem, being aggressive at times, that he was frequently absent and that he consistently failed to complete his schoolwork and homework.” Pursuant to a temporary order, while the older child was living with the father, he was enrolled in a different school and his teachers testified that he had excelled (earning honor roll status). The younger child was enrolled in nursery school while in the father’s custody. The mother admits to not have even considered it. A Long Island Family Lawyer states that the Appellate Division discussed the mother’s mental health issues and her failure to seek treatment despite it being a condition of a prior order. As a result, the grant of custody of the children to the father was upheld.

If you have a case similar to these facts or wish to seek a modification of your current child custody arrangement, the experienced family law attorneys at Simonetti & Associates can help. Set up an appointment today.