Sunday, December 8, 2013

In re Rebecca B. case brief

In re Rebecca B. case brief summary
611 N.Y.S.2d 831 (1994)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant father filed a motion for transfer of sole legal custody of his daughter from respondent mother to him. The Family Court, New York County (New York) denied the father's motion. The father filed an appeal.

CASE FACTS
The father asserted that he had demonstrated a substantial change in circumstances such that transfer of sole legal custody of his daughter to him was in the best interests of the child.

DISCUSSION

  • The court held that the trial court's denial of the father's motion for transfer of sole legal custody lacked a sound and substantial basis in the record. 
  • It reasoned that by discounting the testimony of the father's expert witnesses, the trial court left itself without expert testimony on the child's preferences and the quality of her relationships with her parents. 
  • The court accorded little weight to the recommendation of the mother's psychiatrist that custody be awarded to the mother because the psychiatrist had not interviewed the child or the father. 
  • It concluded that the father had met his burden to demonstrate a substantial change of circumstances to justify a change in custody by showing the preference of the child, by showing the bond which had grown between them, by showing the mother's rather punitive disciplining of the child, and especially by his showing of the mother's efforts to exclude him from the child's life.
CONCLUSION
The court held that the trial court's custody award lacked a sound and substantial basis in the record and should not be allowed to stand.

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