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Father Awarded Custody Where Mother Alienated Child from Father By Gordon, Tepper, DeCoursey on December 24, 2019

Despite the preference for the 15-year old son to remain with his mother, the Appellate Division of the Fourth Judicial Department upheld the Erie County Family Court’s decision to give the father sole legal and physical custody. In the December 20, 2019 decision, Matter of Krier v. Krier, 2019 N.Y. Slip Op. 09129, the Court weighed the appropriate factors, including:  (1) the continuity and stability of the existing custodial arrangement, including the relative fitness of the parents and the length of time the present custodial arrangement has continued; (2) the relative quality of each parent's home environment; (3) each parent's ability to provide for the child's emotional and intellectual development; (4) the parents' relative financial status and ability to provide for the child; (5) the child's wishes; and (6) the need of the child to live with siblings.

The Court determined that five of the six factors favored custody with the father. The wishes of the child, even though he was 15 years of age, were discounted because the Court found that the child was so profoundly influenced by the mother that he could not distinguish between “the father’s abandonment of the marriage and the father’s abandonment of him.” Without providing further detail about the mother’s behavior, the Court concluded that the best interests of the child therefore required him to be in the custody of his father.

The attorneys at Gordon, Tepper & DeCoursey have extensive experience in handling child custody matters. Please call if you have a matter you would like to discuss.

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