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 Brian M. v Nancy M., 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 M.P. v Ta-Mirra J.H., 125 A.D.3d at 868).
Accordingly, the court's visitation determination had a
sound and substantial basis in the record, and will not ...