The Fourth Department determined Family Court should have held a Lincoln hearing before granting father's motion to dismiss mother's petition to modify a custody order which awarded sole legal and primary physical custody of their daughter, now 14, to father:
We conclude that the court abused its discretion in denying the mother's request that it conduct a Lincoln hearing before ruling on the father's motion … . Such a hearing may be conducted “during or after fact-finding” … , and may be used to support an allegation of a change in circumstances … . The decision whether to conduct such a hearing is discretionary, but it is “often the preferable course” to conduct one … .
In this case, the child was 14 years old at the time of trial and expressed a preference to live with the mother, the Attorney for the Child did not oppose a Lincoln hearing, and many of the changed circumstances alleged by the mother concerned matters within the personal knowledge of the child but not that of the mother or her witnesses. Under those circumstances, we conclude that a Lincoln hearing would have provided the court with ” significant pieces of information [it needed] to make the soundest possible decision' ” … . Matter of Noble v Brown, 2016 NY Slip Op 02238, 4th Dept 3-25-16
FAMILY LAW (DENIAL OF MOTHER'S REQUEST FOR A LINCOLN HEARING WAS AN ABUSE OF DISCRETION)/CUSTODY (FAMILY LAW, DENIAL OF MOTHER'S REQUEST FOR A LINCOLN HEARING WAS AN ABUSE OF DISCRETION)/LINCOLN HEARING (DENIAL OF MOTHER'S REQUEST FOR A LINCOLN HEARING WAS AN ABUSE OF DISCRETION)