Published on:

Court Rules on Custody Dispute


Custody issues are never pleasant; however, they are often complicated by differing parenting styles and volatile relationships between the parents. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the court is responsible for determining what if anything will improve the child’s emotional and physical development. In some cases, these decisions are complicated further by domestic violence and poor choices that have been made by one or both parents who are involved in the custody case. In New York, the law is very concerned with the child involved being given the best opportunities. It is because of this outlook that New York courts appoint the child their own attorney to represent their best interests in a custody case.

This is the situation that one couple found themselves in. In May of 2002, a thirty-two year old man met and married a thirty year old woman in New York. The father was a first grade teacher at the time and the mother was an interpreter. They had only known one another for a short time prior to the marriage was in part decided due to the fact that the woman had become pregnant. During the pregnancy, the couple had a violent argument. The father threw his pregnant wife down a flight of stairs in front of her sister. When she attempted to call the police for assistance, he grabbed the phone and pulled it out of the wall to prevent her making the call. Her sister witnessed the incident.

The wife moved out of the house and was living apart from the man at the time that she gave birth to their son in December of 2002. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the couple admit that during the time they were together that a large amount of the time was marked by violence and arguments. During the next few years, the mother raised the son herself with little interaction with the father.

At one point during this time, the father spent two years in the army fighting in Iraq. When he returned, he showed little interest in the child until the mother left New York and moved to California. It is alleged that she make the move to California to hide the child from the father. This contention lacks validity. The fact that she was living only two blocks from her family in California leads the court to believe that he could have located her and the child if he had attempted to reach them.

When the child was five years old, the father met another woman whom he made plans to marry. He filed for full custody in New York and told the courts that he had just located the child. The court gave him full custody of the child because the mother was not present in court to defend the accusations. The father went to California, served the mother with the papers, and removed the boy. He returned to New York where he moved the boy in with his fiancé, her son, and her new infant which had been fathered in their union.

The mother returned to New York and petitioned the court to revisit the custody appointment and give her full custody of the boy. Her reasons were because this was just another power play by the father to control her contact with her own son. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said there were several telling incidents that were reported to the court. Not the least of which was the fact that the militaristic parenting style of the father was harsh and unrealistic for a five year old child.

The father was known to stand over the boy while he ate to ensure that he did not fidget at the table. Food was removed from the child if he did not eat it fast enough. The father expected the five year old to show more advanced maturity than his age in several other incidents. He was to run his own bath and bathe without adult supervision. The father was ambivalent when the matter of his son’s education was involved.

The mother had the child enrolled in a school for gifted children. He is her only son and she lavished attention on him. He is emotionally extremely close to his mother, and he has spent the vast majority of his young life in her care. The father only intervened in the son’s life in the past year. While the two have begun to build a relationship, the father made no provisions for the boy’s emotional adjustment from being removed from his mother. In fact, the court found that the father had a problem with any kind of empathy for his son’s emotional well-being.

In light of the situation, the court requested the child’s advocate to determine if the child had a preference for living arrangements. A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said the child stated that he would prefer to live with his mother, but that he still wanted to maintain a relationship with his father. The court found that while the mother had made some mistakes in reference to fleeing with the child to California, the father had made some poor choices as well. The court determined that the father had not been interested in obtaining custody of the child until it was convenient for him.

The court also determined that the father only sought health care for the son when it was convenient for him. His controlling behavior that was exhibited when he threw his pregnant wife down the flight of stairs was being played out again because he was attempting to remove the boy from her care. The court was also concerned with the father’s behavior when he pulled the phone out of the wall to prevent the mother from calling the police. Later, when the father had custody of the boy, he had refused the mother’s sister any access to the child when she was in New York and wanted to see him. Both parents have refused visitation to the other at different times. The court impressed upon both of them that this type of behavior would not be permitted in the future.

Taking all of this in to consideration, the court determined that the mother would be the best choice as permanent full time custody parent. The mother agreed to relocate back to New York in order to be given custody and she agreed to allow visitation to the father on a schedule. The court believes that the mother will not be so intimidated as to flee the jurisdiction again. Further, they feel that her appreciation of the child’s advanced intellect will ensure that the child has a better opportunity to blossom to his full potential under her care.

At Stephen Bilkis & Associates our Domestic Violence Lawyers, have convenient offices throughout New York and Metropolitan area. Do not risk losing custody of your child! Our Family lawyers can provide you with advice to guide you through court hearings. Without an Order of Protection Lawyer, you could lose precious time with your child. This time cannot be retrieved. Once the child is removed from your custody, it becomes more difficult to reverse the custody decision. However, just like this case demonstrates, it is not impossible. Do not give up hope, get the best attorneys to help you get your child back.

Contact Information