Won affirmance of order granting father custody and limiting mother’s parental access to supervised visitation.
Matter of George A. v Josephine D., 165 AD3d 425 (1st Dept 2018)
In this custody proceeding where I represented the father on appeal by the mother of an order awarding custody to the father and limiting the mother’s parental access to monthly supervised visitation, the First Department accepted my argument that Family Court Act § 1046 (a) (iv) permits a child’s out-of-court statements regarding abuse or neglect to be admissible as evidence in a custody and visitation proceeding if properly corroborated ant that here, the children’s in camera interviews corroborated the father’s testimony, cross-corroborated each other’s statements regarding the mother’s emotional and physical mistreatment, and revealed the children’s preferences for custody and visitation. As I argued, the children’s in camera statements were properly obtained in a confidential setting, at which only their attorney was present, without implicating the mother’s due process rights. The Court further accepted my argumenta that Family Court’s determination to limit the mother’s access to supervised visitation has a sound basis in the record, and that Family Court finding that the mother was not credible was entitle to great deference. In addition to evidence that the mother blatantly violated the prior order of visitation and subjected the children to badgering, threats, and other emotional and physical maltreatment during unsupervised visitation, the Family Court properly gave weight to the desire of the children—at the time 11 and 15 years old—to reside with the father, and only have minimal supervised visits and telephone contact with the mother.