It is in the best interests of a three-year-old daughter for the father and anyone regularly supervising his access to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or else undergo regular testing. So held New York County Supreme Court Justice Matthew F. Cooper in his October 7, 2021 opinion in C.B. v. D.B, directing that the father’s in-person parental access with the child be suspended until such time as he did so.

The Court noted that historically vaccines almost universally embraced as a means of protecting ourselves and our children from deadly or debilitating disease. With Covid-19, most people, heeding expert medical opinion, have availed themselves of vaccines that promise not only to protect them and others from the ravages of the disease, but ultimately to completely vanquish the virus. Unfortunately, for Justice Cooper, a sizeable minority, incomprehensibly seizing upon misinformation, conspiracy theories, and muddled notions of “individual liberty,” have refused all entreaties to be vaccinated.

In this divorce action, the issue was not one of whether the child should be vaccinated; she is still too young to receive any of the vaccines. Nor was it one of whether the Court could require an adult to be vaccinated; to do so would stretch the authority of a matrimonial court to unprecedented lengths.

Here, the parties were married in 2015, and their child, a daughter, was born in 2018. The parties’ high-conflict divorce action was commenced by the wife in 2019. Based upon the wife’s allegations of the husband’s history of substance abuse and untreated mental health issues, and significant periods where he had not seen the child at all, Justice Cooper directed that the husband have daytime access every other weekend visitation, but supervised, first only by Comprehensive Family Services (CFS), but later by his parents.Continue Reading Dad’s Visits Conditioned on Covid Vaccination or Testing

The Appellate Division, Second Department, has held that a father’s application for sole custody and for supervised visitation for the mother, should not have been denied without a hearing, where the father had alleged that the mother operated a motor vehicle in a impaired state, posing a danger to the children.

In Nusbaum v. Nusbaum

Diary girl 2.jpgA 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.Continue Reading Father Who Coerced Daughter into Making Anti-Mother Journal and Video Limited to Supervised Visitation