Won affirmance of order permitting client to relocate with her child to Ohio.
Matter of Jose v Guilford, 188 AD3d 1209 (2nd Dept. 2020)
In this custody relocation matter, I successfully argued that Family Court was correct in permitting my client to relocate with her child to Ohio despite arguments made by both the father and the attorney for the child that the move would negatively impact the father’s relationship with the child and that Family Court erred in failing to appoint an attorney for the child and order a forensic evaluation. The Appellate Division accepted my argument that the Family Court’s determination that relocation was in the best interests of the subject child was supported by a sound and substantial basis in the record. The mother’s testimony, which the court credited, demonstrated that relocation to Ohio in order to live together with her new husband, stationed there as a member of the military, and the subject child’s new half-sibling would enhance the subject child’s life economically and emotionally, and that the subject child’s relationship with the father could be preserved through a liberal parental access schedule, including, but not limited to, unlimited access to the subject child in Ohio, frequent telephone and video contact, and extended summer and holiday visits
The Appellate Division also accepted my arguments that in a proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act article 6, the appointment of an attorney for a child is discretionary, not mandatory and that under the circumstances of this case, including the young age of the subject child and the absence of any demonstrable prejudice to her interests, the court providently exercised its discretion in not appointing an attorney. The Court also accepted my arguments that there is no indication in the record that a forensic evaluation was necessary to enable the court to reach its determination.