- October 29, 2019
S. Calderon, Jamaica, NY, for appellant.
Chowes, New York, NY, for respondent.
P. Simmons, Brooklyn, NY (Laura Solecki and Janet Neustaetter
of counsel), attorney for the child.
E. CHAMBERS, J.P. SHERI S. ROMAN JEFFREY A. COHEN LINDA
DECISION & ORDER
related proceedings pursuant to Family Court Act article 6,
the mother appeals from an order of the Family Court, Kings
County (Nisha Menon, Ct. Atty. Ref.), dated February 28,
2019. The order, after a hearing, awarded the mother and the
father joint legal custody of the parties' child with
physical custody to the father.
that the order is affirmed, without costs or disbursements.
parties, who were never married, are the parents of a child
born in 2006. In May 2018, the mother moved from New York to
Georgia with the child without the father's consent. The
father filed a petition for sole custody of the child, and
the mother filed a petition for sole custody of the child and
for permission to relocate with the child to Georgia. By
decision and order on motion dated August 22, 2018, this
Court directed that the mother return the child to New York
to reside with the father pending determination of the
proceedings. Following a hearing, in an order dated February
28, 2019, the Family Court awarded the parties joint legal
custody of the child with physical custody to the father. The
court deciding an initial petition for child custody must
determine what is in the child's best
interests'" (Matter of Alvarado v Cordova,
158 A.D.3d 794, 794, quoting Matter of Supangkat v
Torres, 101 A.D.3d 889, 889-890). "'Factors to
be considered in determining the child's best interests
include the quality of the home environment and the parental
guidance the custodial parent provides for the child, the
ability of each parent to provide for the child's
emotional and intellectual development, the financial status
and ability of each parent to provide for the child, the
relative fitness of the respective parents, and the effect an
award of custody to one parent might have on the child's
relationship with the other parent'" (Matter of
Mejia v Llarena, 172 A.D.3d 720, 721,
quoting Matter of Elliott v Felder, 69
A.D.3d 623, 623; see Eschbach v Eschbach, 56 N.Y.2d
167, 171-172; Matter of Supangkat v Torres, 101
A.D.3d at 890).
as here, a party seeks permission to relocate in the context
of a petition seeking an initial custody determination, the
strict application of the factors relevant to a relocation
petition is not required (see Matter of Williams v
Bryson, 167 A.D.3d 1021; Matter of Alvarado v
Cordova, 158 A.D.3d 794). Rather, the relocation is but
one factor among many for the Family Court to consider in
determining what is in the best interests of the child
(see Matter of Alvarado v Cordova, 158 A.D.3d at
794-795). "The weighing of these . . . factors requires
an evaluation of the testimony, character, and sincerity of
all the parties involved. Generally, such an evaluation can
best be made by the Family Court, which had direct access to
the parties and witnesses, and, therefore, deference is
accorded to the Family Court's findings in this
regard" (Matter of Feery v Feury, 168 A.D.3d
729, 730; see Prohaszka v Prohaszka, 103 A.D.3d
the Family Court's determination to award the parties
joint legal custody of the child with physical custody to the
father has a sound and substantial basis in the record
(see Matter of Sahadath v Andaverde, 145 A.D.3d 731,
732-733; Prohaszka v Prohaszka, 103 A.D.3d 617;
Matter of Galanos v Galanos, 28 A.D.3d 554).
Contrary to the mother's contention, a review of the
court's decision indicates that it gave careful
consideration to all relevant factors (see Matter of
Galanos v Galanos, 28 A.D.3d 554).
mother's remaining contentions are without merit.
CHAMBERS, J.P., ROMAN, COHEN and ...