In the Matter of Karen N. Watson, respondent,
Othniel Maragh, appellant. (Proceeding No. 1) In the Matter of Othniel Maragh, appellant,
Karen N. Watson, respondent. (Proceeding No. 2) Docket Nos. V-15154-14, V-15155-14, V-00104-15, V-00105-15
M. Jansen, White Plains, NY, for appellant.
Ranellone, White Plains, NY, for respondent.
D. Birman, White Plains, NY, attorney for the children.
C. BALKIN, J.P. L. PRISCILLA HALL SYLVIA O. HINDS-RADIX LINDA
DECISION & ORDER
from an order of the Family Court, Westchester County
(Michelle I. Schauer, J.), entered July 15, 2016. The order,
inter alia, after a hearing, granted the mother's
petition for sole custody of the parties' children, with
supervised visitation to the father, and, in effect, denied
the father's petition for sole custody of the children.
that the order is affirmed, without costs or disbursements.
parties have two children together, a son born in May 2010
and a daughter born in October 2012. The parties were never
married, but lived together when the children were born, and
separated during the fall of 2013.
mother filed a petition for sole custody of the children in
November 2014, and the father filed a petition for sole
custody of the children in January 2015. Through a series of
temporary orders, the children remained in the custody of the
mother and had supervised visitation with the father, until a
fact-finding hearing was held in December 2015 and March
2016. By order dated July 15, 2016, the Family Court granted
the mother's petition for sole custody of the children,
with supervised visitation to the father, and, in effect,
denied the father's petition for sole custody of the
children. The father appeals.
issues raised by the father regarding the temporary orders of
visitation granting him supervised visitation with the
children are academic. The temporary orders of visitation are
no longer of any effect, and any alleged defect in those
orders does not render defective the final order of custody
and visitation, which was based upon a full and fair hearing
(see Matter of Yehudah v Yehudah, 144 A.D.3d 1046,
1046; Matter of Kirkpatrick v Kirkpatrick, 137
A.D.3d 1695, 1695; Matter of Chamas v Carino, 119
A.D.3d 564, 565; Matter of Ramirez v Velez, 78
A.D.3d 1062, 1062-1063).
paramount concern in any custody or visitation determination
is the best interests of the child, under the totality of the
circumstances" (Matter of Boggio v Boggio, 96
A.D.3d 834, 835; see Matter of Wilson v McGlinchey,
2 N.Y.3d 375, 380-381; Eschbach v Eschbach, 56
N.Y.2d 167, 171). Although "[s]upervised visitation is
appropriately required only where it is established that
unsupervised visitation would be detrimental to the
child" (Matter of Bullinger v Costa, 63 A.D.3d
735, 735-736; see Rosenberg v Rosenberg, 44 A.D.3d
1022, 1024), "[t]he determination of whether visitation
should be supervised is a matter left to the court's
sound discretion, and its findings will not be disturbed on
appeal unless they lack a sound and substantial basis in the
record" (Matter of Gooler v Gooler, 107 A.D.3d
712, 713; see Matter of Binong Xu v Sullivan, 91
A.D.3d 771, 771-772).
evidence presented at the hearing supports the Family
Court's determination that the father refused to obtain
appropriate treatment for his mental health issues, displayed
extreme negativity toward the mother, would not be able to
foster a loving relationship between the children and the
mother, and lacked insight into how his behavior in front of
the children was harmful to them (see Matter of Tecza v
Alija,138 A.D.3d 872; Matter of Bonet v Bonet,121 A.D.3d 978, 978; Matter of Howard E.I. v Sandra
I.,108 A.D.3d 715; Matter of Colter v Baker,104 A.D.3d 850, 850; Matter of Berkham v Vessia, 63
A.D.3d 1155, 1156; Matter of Anderson v Sparks, 18
A.D.3d 656, 657). Consequently, the court's determination
to award sole custody to the mother and supervised visitation
to the father, which ...