The Third Department determined the evidence did not support the “drastic remedy” of terminating mother’s supervised visitation with the child:
Although Family Court found that both the mother and the father “testified credibly that relations between the mother and child ha[d] deteriorated” — a determination that was borne out by the testimony — the “denial of visitation to a noncustodial parent is a drastic remedy” … and the record does not contain “substantial proof” that continued supervised visitation “would be harmful to the child” … . We are mindful of the father’s testimony that the child had returned home from a visit with bent glasses and marks on his leg. However, Family Court did not make any factual findings regarding these allegations, and the maternal grandfather — who drove the child home from that visit — denied ever observing the child’s glasses to be “messed up” or witnessing marks on the child’s legs. On this record, there is an insufficient basis to conclude that the bent glasses and marks observed by the father were caused by the mother’s conduct. Moreover, while the mother herself acknowledged that there were issues in the relationship between her and the child, she indicated that this stemmed from the child’s difficult behavior and her concern about the child making racist comments in front of his three-year-old half-sibling. There was also testimony regarding the positive aspects of their relationship and the maternal grandfather, who did all the driving, corroborated that the child generally seemed content during visits. Notwithstanding the father’s testimony to the contrary, we conclude that the evidence presented was not sufficiently compelling and substantial to justify a wholesale suspension of the mother’s supervised visitation … . Matter of William V. v Christine W., 2022 NY Slip Op 04199, Third Dept 6-3022
Practice Point: The termination of supervised visitation is a “drastic remedy” which requires “substantial proof” continued visitation “would be harmful to the child.” The proof was lacking in this case.