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Father Rebuilds Relationship With Daughter and Obtains Residential Custody

father's rights advocateThis is a story about two young parents who had a daughter in 2003. Shortly after the daughter was born, the child’s mother agreed to have the maternal grandmother raise the child in Franklin County, New York. This gave the mother the opportunity to go away to college. While the mother was attending college, she visited her daughter sometimes on weekends, holidays, and on school vacations.

Father in the Military

The child’s father had enlisted in the military before his daughter was born. He was twice deployed in Iraq. Due to his deployment overseas he rarely saw his daughter. When he was discharged from the military in 2007, the father worked out an arrangement with the maternal grandmother whereby he would have a regular visitation schedule with his daughter. During this period of time he was able to reestablish his relationship with her.

Family Court Custody Proceeding

When the mother returned to New York in 2011, the grandmother moved out of state. A proceeding was brought in the Family Court concerning the custody of the parties’ daughter. The Family Court awarded the parties’ joint legal custody, however the father was named as the residential custodial parent of his daughter. The mother was unhappy with the decision of the Family Court and she appealed to the Appellate Division of the Third Department, an appeals court. The Appellate Division affirmed the prior order of the Family Court. The court took into consideration the mother waited more than 2 years before she sought custody of her daughter. They found this action of the mother was “the most discerning factor” concerning whether or not she should be given residential custody. The appeals court also found the mother did not reestablish herself back into her daughter’s life in Franklin County for the purpose of avoiding the relocation of the child.

Conclusion

Fathers who love their children and are willing to make sacrifices to reestablish relationships with their children can prevail and obtain residential custody.father's rights lawyer

About Elliot S. Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has spent more that 30 years representing individuals in matrimonial and family law cases.