The Third Department, reversing Family Court, determined mother had sufficiently demonstrated a change in circumstances to warrant unsupervised visitation with her child. Mother was successfully controlling her addiction and was maintaining a full-time job:
“As the party seeking to modify a prior order of visitation, the [mother] bore the initial burden of showing that a change in circumstances has occurred since the entry thereof that is sufficient to warrant Family Court undertaking a best interests analysis in the first instance; assuming that requirement is met, the [mother] then must show that modification of the prior order is necessary in order to ensure the child’s continued best interests” … . In this regard, “expanded visitation is generally favorable absent proof that such visitation is inimical to the child[‘s] welfare” … .
The mother’s modification request stemmed from certain changes that had occurred in both her personal life and the child’s schedule since entry of the prior order. With respect to the child’s schedule, the mother explained that, now that the child was enrolled in school, there was a narrow window of opportunity during the school week (60 to 90 minutes each day) when she could enjoy visitations with her daughter. As to her personal life, the mother testified — without contradiction — that she had completed a detox program, was actively engaged in both group therapy and a community-based support group (Alcoholics Anonymous), the latter of which she attended three or four times each week, had obtained a sponsor (with whom she spoke daily and tried to meet in person twice a month), was participating in a Suboxone treatment program (for which she underwent regular testing to monitor the level of Suboxone in her system), was subject to regular drug testing for illegal substances (all of which came back negative), was successfully maintaining a full-time job and, as of the date of the hearing, had been “clean” for more than one year … . Matter of Beeken v Fredenburg, 2016 NY Slip Op 08919, 3rd Dept 12-29-16
FAMILY LAW (MOTHER’S PETITION TO MODIFY VISITATION WITH HER DAUGHTER SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED, MOTHER WAS SUCCESSFULLY CONTROLLING HER ADDICTION AND WAS MAINTAINING A FULL TIME JOB)/VISITATION (FAMILY LAW, MOTHER’S PETITION TO MODIFY VISITATION WITH HER DAUGHTER SHOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED, MOTHER WAS SUCCESSFULLY CONTROLLING HER ADDICTION AND WAS MAINTAINING A FULL TIME JOB)