Won affirmance of order granting custody to the father.
Matter of Dedon G. v Zenhia G., 125 AD3d 419 (1st Dept 2015)
In this child custody appeal where I represented the father in defense of the mother’s appeal of Family Court’s award of custody to the father, the First Department accepted my argument that a preponderance of the evidence supported the Family Court’s determination that the child’s best interests would be served by awarding custody to the father. The Court accepted my argument that Family Court considered the totality of the circumstances and properly concluded that the father was more able to identify and address the child’s educational and emotional needs, and to provide a stable and healthy home environment for the child despite the fact that the mother had been the primary caregiver and had temporary custody of the child during the pendency of the custody hearing. The Court further accepted my argument that a forensic evaluation or expert testimony was not required to support the Family Court’s conclusion that the mother’s home environment caused the child’s behavioral problems at school as the record shows that the child was bothered by the mother’s frequent arguments with her boyfriend, that the child’s behavioral problems manifested after she began living with the mother, and that the father had a less stressful home environment. Finally, the Court accepted my argument that Family Court failed to adequately consider the child’s separation from her half-sister in that although keeping children together is an important factor for the court to consider, it is not “an absolute” requirement, especially where, as here, the two half siblings had not grown up together and the child recently advised the attorney for the child that she has adequate contact with her half-sister through the current custodial and visitation arrangements.