The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined the court should have held a hearing before awarding sole custody of the children to plaintiff. The Second Department noted that, where a hearing is not held, the court should articulate the factors considered:
“The court’s paramount concern in any custody and visitation proceeding is to determine, under the totality of the circumstances, what is in the best interests of the child[ren]” … . “Custody determinations should generally be made only after a full and plenary hearing and inquiry. This general rule furthers the substantial interest, shared by the State, the children, and the parents, in ensuring that custody proceedings generate a just and enduring result that, above all else, serves the best interests of the child” … . “[A] court opting to forgo a plenary hearing must take care to clearly articulate which factors were—or were not—material to its determination, and the evidence supporting its decision” … .
Here, the record reflects that the Supreme Court failed to inquire into whether an award of sole legal and physical custody to the plaintiff was in the best interests of the children … . Moreover, the court failed to articulate what factors it considered in awarding custody to the plaintiff … . Indictor v Indictor, 2021 NY Slip Op 01968, Second Dept 3-31-21