New York Court Grants Father Custody of Children; Says Mother Lacks the Duty of Care

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In the Matter between Gabriel A. A and Ifeoma V.A entered on or about August 19, 2022, at the Family Court, Bronx County, the parties were awarded joint legal custody of the subject children with primary physical custody to the petitioner father and parenting time to the respondent mother on weekends and alternating holidays. The Judgement was unanimously affirmed, without costs.

The Matter which was an appeal to the Appellant Division of the Supreme Court of State of New York on the 26th of September, 2023, the Court considered all the relevant factors and properly concluded that, although the mother clearly loved and cared for the children, granting the father primary physical custody would serve the children’s best interests.

In the judgement, the Court stated that there is a sound and substantial basis in the record for the court’s determination that the children’s best interests would best be served by awarding primary physical custody to the father.

The basis of the decision by the Court was deemed to be a result of a Lack of Duty of care by the Respondent (Mother). The Court further expatiated that the father was better able to provide a stable home environment for the children since he resided with his wife in their house and had his work and school schedule match the children’s schedule to be able to care for them in the afternoons and evenings.

In contrast, the mother moved frequently and provided inconsistent testimony about her work schedule, which led the court to question her ability to adequately care for and supervise the children.

Also, record further demonstrated that the father understood the children’s educational needs better than the mother. The mother had changed the children’s school multiple times in a short span of time, often without informing the father. She also maintained that the children were excelling academically, even though their report cards demonstrated otherwise, and questioned the need for the older child’s Individualized Education Plan.

On the other hand, the father repeatedly emphasized the importance of education for the children and his continued commitment to support them academically. Conclusively, the record indicated that the father would maintain, promote, and foster the relationship between the mother and children.

There was also evidence to show that the children were in regular contact with the mother while they stayed with the father in the spring and summer of 2020 as well as during their weekend visits. The father further testified that he was willing to abide by the visitation schedule the court imposed and would drive the children to the mother’s home in the Bronx from Long Island.

In contrast, once the children were returned to the mother’s care in September 2020, she cut off all contact with the father and did not let him visit until a temporary visitation order was issued. She also brought the children to the drop-off late or failed to come at all without informing the father in advance.

The court also stated that after considering the mother’s remaining contentions, it found them unavailing.

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