The Third Department, over a two-justice partial dissent, determined mother was properly stripped of joint legal custody:
The evidence reveals the parties’ inability to communicate effectively regarding the child. Notwithstanding their numerous discussions, occurring both in court and out of court, the mother continued to undermine the father and to act contrary to his express wishes. The mother testified that she “knew [the father] was not in agreement” with allowing the child’s continued contact with the boy and that she did not make a “joint decision.” Nonetheless, she unilaterally decided to permit the child to have physical contact with the boy, and to attend the church where he served as her youth leader and his baseball game. She further acknowledged that a message that she had sent to the father “threaten[ed] to file court papers if he didn’t allow [the child] to do what she wanted on his time.” In sum, although the parties are able to communicate, there is scant evidence that the mother is willing to accept or act upon that communication; instead, after speaking with the father, she disregards his requests and opinion regarding essential parenting issues, and fails to acknowledge that it is important to do so.
Upon this record, a sound and substantial basis supports the determination awarding the parents equal shared physical custody and the father sole legal custody, while directing him to “solicit and reasonably consider” the mother’s input regarding any major decisions … . Similarly, the record supports Family Court’s finding that the mother willfully violated the 2011 order by her admitted failure to bring the child to visitation and by her discussion of court proceedings with the child, as well as the court’s bench order by permitting the child to have further contact with the boy and returning her cell phone … .
From the Dissent:
As the majority recognizes, the mother and the father were not on the same page regarding the issue of the child’s relationship with the 15-year-old boy and the extent and manner in which she should be disciplined for her alleged transgressions. Nevertheless, this is not a situation where the parties’ joint decision making has so broken down that joint legal custody is no longer feasible … . Indeed, the record established that, despite their significantly different parenting styles, the parties had been successfully following the previous order, communicating in the best interests of the child for several years and operating “in harmony” under the concept of “[my] house, [my] rules, [your] house, [your] rules” — a concept that was, notably, introduced by the father. Matter of Thompson v Wood, 2017 NY Slip Op 09219, Third Dept 12-28-17
FAMILY LAW (CUSTODY, MOTHER, ALTHOUGH A FIT AND LOVING PARENT, WAS PROPERLY STRIPPED OF LEGAL CUSTODY, DISSENT DISAGREED (THIRD DEPT))/CUSTODY (FAMILY LAW, LEGAL CUSTODY, MOTHER, ALTHOUGH A FIT AND LOVING PARENT, WAS PROPERLY STRIPPED OF LEGAL CUSTODY, DISSENT DISAGREED (THIRD DEPT))/LEGAL CUSTODY (FAMILY LAW, MOTHER, ALTHOUGH A FIT AND LOVING PARENT, WAS PROPERLY STRIPPED OF LEGAL CUSTODY, DISSENT DISAGREED (THIRD DEPT))