Lawrence C. and Antheap met based on an advertisement placed on a website for a partner to conceive a child through artificial insemination. When the parties met, it was agreed that Antheap would be artificially inseminated and Lawrence C. would play a role in the parenting of the perspective child. In June of 2008, twins were born. A custody arrangement was worked out between the parties. During a two-week period, Dad had the children with him for four evenings. Mom had the children with her for ten evenings.
The relationship between the parties was never one of love and affection. It was strictly one of convenience, for the purpose of conceiving children. In 2007, the relationship soured.
Court Hearing Before Referee Barnett
Referee Barnett, sitting in the Family Court for New York County, rendered a decision after a hearing that the father should be the primary residential custodial parent of the children after they reach the age of four. In the decision of Referree Barnett, Dad was given final decision-making authority on all significant issues, including, without limitation, education, medical care and extra curricular activities. Mom appealed.
Appellate Division First Department Ruling
The Appellate Division of the First Department, located in New York County, overturned the decision of Court Referree Elizabeth Barnett. The Appellate Division found “none of the grounds upon which the Referree ordered a future change in custody are so compelling as to warrant the attended disruption of the children’s lives.” The court went on to state, “speculation (based solely on lay testimony) that the children, by reason of their non-traditional family background, would more easily fit in with other children in the father’s west village neighborhood than in the mother’s predominately Greek American neighborhood in Queens “was not a reasonable basis for making a custody decision concerning the best interest of the children.”
The Appellate Division also stated that, while each parent would do well to adopt a more cooperative attitude towards the other, the past problems with the mother’s conduct are not so great as to warrant displacing her as the primary custodial parent.
Are you a father with a legal problem? If so, we are the attorneys for you. We have more than thirty years of experience representing fathers in all types of father’s rights cases. We litigate divorce proceedings, child custody proceedings, child visitation proceedings, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), as well as child abuse and child neglect proceedings in the Supreme Courts and Family Courts throughout the metropolitan New York area.
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