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Father granted sole legal custody based on children's best interests

In some circumstances, a court may decide it is in the best interests of the children to have sole legal custody invested in only one parent.
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    January 23, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Father granted sole legal custody based on children's best interests

Article provided by Solomon and Herrera, PLLC
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In divorce proceedings, it is not uncommon for a couple to be granted joint legal and physical custody of the children, generally with a parenting schedule in place. However, in some circumstances, a court may decide it is in the best interests of the children to have sole legal custody invested in only one parent.

The recent case of Bowman v. Engelhart from the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, provides an example of such a situation.

Temporary joint custody . . . becomes sole custody

The couple was married for approximately seven years and had two children. The father sought sole legal custody of the children in the proceedings. On a temporary basis while the proceedings continued, the court granted joint legal and physical custody of the children.

However, after a non-jury trial, the court awarded the father sole legal custody, although the mother was given parenting time with the children on Wednesday nights and every other weekend.

What were the facts that led to this decision? The court was guided by the best interests of the children and assessed the situation in that light.

An acrimonious situation

Here, the court found that joint custody was not likely to be successful due to the mutual animosity between the couple and their inability to communicate on issues impacting the children. For extended periods of time, the parents had failed to be able to coordinate to arrange childcare. They had also engaged in disputes over virtually every decision related to raising the children, including discipline, trips and activities, and even over sleeping arrangements. The court had previously had to intervene in order to resolve a dispute over which school the couple's daughter would attend.

The court also found the father's testimony credible, regarding the mother's efforts to minimize his role in the children's lives, depriving him of access, and telling the children she would find a "new daddy" who was not "broken." In addition, the mother often used degrading and obscene terms to describe the father in front of the children.

The circumstances brought forth in the family lawproceeding indicated that the husband was more fit to act as the custodial parent and more likely to foster a positive relationship between the children and the other parent. Although the mother did receive additional parenting time on appeal, the husband retained sole legal custody.

Helping custodial and non-custodial parents

If you find yourself embroiled in a potential child custody dispute, it is important that you consult an attorney who has experience in helping both custodial and non-custodial parents resolve their differences. Seek representation from an experienced family law attorney who will ensure that your interests and the best interests of your children are protected.

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