Skip to comments.Mother Loses Support, Custody for Interfering With Father's Rights
Posted on 12/08/2011 7:59:52 PM PST by Behind Liberal Lines
A mother who "deliberately and unjustifiably frustrated" a father's attempts to visit his child was appropriately stripped of child support and primary custody, an appellate panel in Albany has held.
The Appellate Division, Third Department, unanimously affirmed a Schuyler County Family Court judge in a case where the custodial mother had repeatedly hindered her estranged husband's efforts to establish relations with his daughter, even though the father made no attempt to enforce his visitation rights for six years.
Luke v. Luke, 510880, centers on a child born in 2001 to Melvin W. and Heidi L. Luke.
The Lukes, who are still married, separated before the child's birth. After a 2003 DNA test confirmed Mr. Luke's paternity, the parties stipulated to joint custody, with the mother retaining physical custody and the father entitled to visitation on alternate weekends. A support order also was entered against the father.
Records show that the agreed-upon visits occurred for only one or two months. After the father moved to New Jersey, the Family Court issued a default order awarding Ms. Luke sole custody.
Mr. Luke moved back to Schuyler County in 2007, and in 2009 sought the Family Court's help in locating his child and wife, who had moved several times.
After a hearing, the court awarded the parties joint custody, with the child spending four nights with the father, and terminated the father's support obligation.
The Third Department noted that while this matter was pending, Ms. Luke moved four times without informing Mr. Luke. At one point she moved into a safe house to escape the domestic violence of a boyfriend that was witnessed by the child, repeatedly violated visitation orders and assigned custody of the child to her boyfriend's adult daughter without consulting Mr. Luke. The court observed that the boyfriend's daughter failed to bring the child to visits and even kept her out of school on Fridays, when Mr. Luke was supposed to pick her up for weekend visits.
"At the time of the hearing the child had not seen her mother for almost two months, and the mother testified that she called only when she had minutes on her phone," the panel said in an opinion by Justice William E. McCarthy (See Profile). "Despite this constantly changing situation, the mother denied that she made any poor choices that caused instability in the child's life."
The court said that while the father "lost contact with his daughter for several years and did not adequately explain why he took so long to re-establish a connection," by the time of the hearing he had been working for more than a year to connect with his daughter.
"The record supports the finding that the mother deliberately and unjustifiably frustrated the father's visitation, moving without notifying the father and attempting to informally transfer custody to another person without informing the father," Justice McCarthy wrote in an opinion joined by Justices Karen K. Peters (See Profile), John A. Lahtinen (See Profile), Leslie E. Stein (See Profile) and Elizabeth A. Garry (See Profile).
Appearing were Martha N. Hertzberg of Ithaca for Mr. Luke; Lisa K. Miller of McGraw for Ms. Luke; and Steven J. Getman of Ovid for the child.
Back to the future, one way or another. If policy doesn’t go that way (traditional, old fashioned) before the default process has run its course, it will soon afterward. The breaking of so many families turned out to be, more than anything else, a way to prevent potential business competition from rising (whole, real families). Secondarily, it was a way to entice them to be robbed through their weakest links.
If I showed up without them she would simply refuse to let me see him and dare me to do anything about it, all in front of a 5 year old child. It's been over a decade and he still hasn't recovered from the damage that evil bitch did.
This is good news as far as father’s visitation is concern. But I never knew that court can issue visitation rights, etc., for still married couple.
BTW, the divorce/anti-family regime cannot be continued without big, socialist government.
Not sure why this is particularly newsworthy. Sounds like a pretty routine custody decision, and one that’s pretty obvious with such a fact pattern.
Surprising this is in NY.
I’m so sorry this happened to you, but why’d you marry such an evil b****?!
She wasn’t that way when I married her.
In your fantasy justice world, perhaps.
But in the real world, men are at fault as the default position.
This is a man bites dog story, so it is newsworthy.
It's rare enough that I clicked on it, because I've seen this crap firsthand.
And 98% of the time, the crack-head whore wins if she shows up.
Prayers up for the child.
They never start that way. Ever. Voice of experience.
These days, I stay single, celibate, solvent, and sane. Having seen the other side, I'm cool with a monastic lifestyle. Especially the local cheese and hand-crafted beer, and no-one bitching at me.
People come without warning labels and some people are really good at hiding.
BTW, I find "Family Court" disgusting on many, many levels.
“even though the father made no attempt to enforce his visitation rights for six years.”
G, do you think that might have had something to do with the Mother’s interference?
Ah, thanks for the explanation.
The “family” court system makes good and decent men slaves. The bad men don’t care and aren’t the ones there fighting for anything.
With my folks divorce, and what my dad went through, I vowed I would never let myself be put through what he went through.
I bet that’s supposed to be your fault, too. ;)
And people can change over time. Stepdad was a decent guy at the beginning, by his 20th year of marriage to my mom he was cheating on her for over a year. Mom was a “burden” now.
In WI it’s at least six months for simple no fault, on average it’s at least a year.
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