The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the parental access provisions of the judgment of divorce should not have been modified without holding a hearing:
“A party seeking a change in [parental access] or custody is not automatically entitled to a hearing, but must make an evidentiary showing sufficient to warrant a hearing” … . As a general matter, custody and parental access determinations should only be rendered after a full hearing … .However, this general right is not absolute … , and a hearing “is not necessary where the undisputed facts before the court are sufficient, in and of themselves, to support a modification of custody … .
The plaintiff made the necessary showing entitling him to a hearing regarding that branch of his motion which was to modify the parental access provisions of the judgment of divorce with respect to the child … . The record shows that there were disputed factual issues regarding the child’s best interests such that a hearing on modification of parental access was required … . Further, “[a] decision regarding child custody and parental access should be based on admissible evidence” … . Here, in making its determination, the Supreme Court relied solely on information provided at court conferences, and the hearsay statements and conclusions of the family specialist, whose opinions and credibility were untested by either party … . Katsoris v Katsoris, 2019 NY Slip Op 08833, Second Dept 12-11-19