Submitted - February 8, 2018
Francine Shraga, Brooklyn, NY, for appellant.
Borenstein, Brooklyn, NY, for respondent.
WILLIAM F. MASTRO, J.P. REINALDO E. RIVERA SYLVIA O.
HINDS-RADIX ANGELA G. IANNACCI, JJ.
DECISION & ORDER
by the mother from an order of the Family Court, Kings County
(Emily M. Martinez, Ct. Atty. Ref.), dated June 22, 2016. The
order, insofar as appealed from, after a hearing, granted
that branch of the father's petition which was for
unsupervised visitation with the parties' children.
that the order is affirmed insofar as appealed from, without
costs or disbursements.
parties, who were never married, have two children together,
twins born in April 2012. The children, who were born
prematurely, have several health issues, including chronic
lung disease and asthma, and one child has a heart defect.
2013, the father filed a petition for custody and visitation.
Thereafter, temporary orders of visitation were issued,
granting the father alternate weekend visitation with the
children, initially supervised by the mother, and later with
the assistance of the children's home health aide. After
a hearing, the Family Court, inter alia, granted the father
unsupervised, overnight visitation on alternate weekends, to
commence gradually after the mother had provided the father
with an updated list of the children's physicians and the
father had contacted each physician regarding the
children's diagnoses and medications. The mother appeals.
court's paramount concern in adjudicating visitation
rights is the best interests of the child (see Matter of
Murphy v Lewis, 149 A.D.3d 748, 749; Matter of
Anthony M.P. v Ta-Mirra J.H., 125 A.D.3d 868, 868;
Matter of Morocho v Jordan, 123 A.D.3d 1037, 1037).
''Supervised visitation is appropriately required
only where it is established that unsupervised visitation
would be detrimental to the child" (Cervera v
Bressler, 50 A.D.3d 837, 839 [internal quotation marks
omitted]; see Matter of Murphy v Lewis, 149 A.D.3d
at 750; Matter of Lopez v Lopez, 127 A.D.3d 974,
974; Matter of Blazek v Zavelo, 127 A.D.3d 854, 854;
Matter of Anthony M.P. v Ta-Mirra J.H., 125 A.D.3d
at 868). "Since custody and visitation determinations
'necessarily depend[ ] to a great extent upon an
assessment of the character and credibility of the parties
and witnesses, deference is accorded the court's
findings'" (Matter of James M. v Kevin M.,
99 A.D.3d 911, 913, quoting Matter of Elliott v
Felder, 69 A.D.3d 623, 623). Thus, the determination of
whether visitation should be supervised is a matter within
the sound discretion of the Family Court and should not be
set aside unless it lacks a sound and substantial basis in
the record (see Matter of Blazek v Zavelo, 127
A.D.3d at 854; Matter of Anthony M.P. v Ta-Mirra
J.H., 125 A.D.3d at 868; Matter of Dolan v
Masterton, 121 A.D.3d 979, 981; Irizarry v
Irizarry, 115 A.D.3d 913, 915; Matter of BrianM. v
NancyM, 227 A.D.2d 404, 404; Matter of Gerald D. v
Lucille S., 188 A.D.2d 650, 650).
the record does not support a conclusion that overnight,
unsupervised visitation would be detrimental to the children.
Further, the requirements imposed by the Family Court's
order, including requiring the mother to provide contact
information for all of the children's doctors, requiring
the father to contact each doctor to obtain information about
the children's diagnoses and medications, and introducing
the overnight visitation gradually, while ensuring the
assistance of the children's home health aide, are
designed to protect the children while encouraging the bond
between the children and the father (see Matter of
Anthony MP v Ta-Mirra JH, 125 A.D.3d at 868)
Accordingly, the court's visitation determination had a
sound and substantial basis in the record, and ...