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The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court recently decided a case involving the modification of child custody agreements.
This case, In re Graziani C.A., was an appeal made by a mother from a case in which the court granted the children’s father sole custody. The father had been awarded sole custody by the lower courts based on two related neglect proceedings brought against the mother of the children.
The court held that “the essential consideration in making an award of custody is the best interests of the children; factors to be considered include the quality of the home environment and the parental guidance the custodial parent provides for the child, the ability of each parent to provide for the child’s emotional and intellectual development, the financial status and ability of each parent to provide for the child, the relative fitness of the respective parents, and the effect an award of custody to one parent might have on the child’s relationship with the other parent.” Thus the courts look to a totality of circumstances analysis based on the child or children’s best interests.
The court also decided that an existing custody agreement can be changed or modified if there is a change of circumstances such that a modification is necessary to ensure the best interests of the children.
Here, the mother’s apartment became very chaotic. The children could not receive focused attention and the structure necessary for their intellectual development or their success in their schooling. Additionally, the children suffered from seizure disorders and asthma and there was evidence that established that the mother had failed to provide the children appropriate medical attention. Due to this, the court found no reason to reverse the decision of the lower court that awarded the father sole custody.
If you are considering filing a petition for custody or for a divorce, and want to speak to a and want to speak to a knowledgeable and experienced Long Island divorce and family attorney, please contact the Law Offices of Jay D. Raxenberg.
Call (516) 491-0565 or toll free at (888) 543-4867.