A father’s efforts to push his daughter into keeping a journal disparaging her mother and to be videotaped complaining about her mother caused his visitation to be both supervised and limited. The father’s stated intention to enhance his case that the mother was abusive to her daughter, which both the appointed forensic evaluator and the Court found was not the case, was not justification for the father’s poor judgment.
In her June 14, 2012 decision in Matter of A.H. v C.B., Queens County Family Court Judge Edwina G. Richardson-Mendelson, not only rejected a father’s efforts to expand his visitation, but further limited them.
The father alleged the mother’s abusive behavior towards their daughter constituted the change in circumstances necessary to alter existing arrangements. The father also sought to resume the liberal visitation that he had been informally allowed by the mother following the parties’ divorce. The parties’ 2003 divorce decree granted custody to the mother, but did not deal with visitation issues. As a result, a 2002 Family Court order providing for supervised visitation had remained in effect, although often not followed.
The father claimed that the daughter told him that the mother would call her “a jackass” and “stupid” and that in conversations with the daughter, the mother would disparage the father and his family. The father testified that he began to be concerned that the mother was mistreating his daughter through “verbal abuse” and by putting extreme pressure on the daughter to do well in school. He alleged that the mother slapped the daughter and abused her mentally and emotionally.
In 2009, the father gave his daughter a journal and encouraged her to write in it about her negative experiences with her mother. He also videotaped his daughter talking about her mother in a negative way.