In a recent family law case, decided by Justice Jeffrey Sunshine in Kings County on Monday, a mother was granted custody of her children, while their father was granted decision-making custody for choices regarding any medical or mental health issues for the children.
In the case, Mary E. v. Usher E., the mother and father both filed orders of protection and filed for custody of their children, who are twins. The mother filed for divorce for cruel and inhuman treatment, and claimed the father physically and verbally abused her, as well as abused her by through emotional and financial control. However, testimony showed no evidence of physical abuse, and the children were only told about it by their mother and did not witness it themselves. Because of this, the order of protection was denied.
The testimony also revealed that under the mother's influence, the children were distanced from their father. However, because removing the children from their mother would cause them additional harm, the court decided to award the mother custody over her twins. In addition, one twin was diagnosed with a serious eating disorder, but the mother failed to place the child in a treatment program. Because of her refusal to place this child in a residential or day treatment program to help with the disorder, the court ordered that the father would have full-decision making custody when it comes to any medical or health related issue for the twins.
While it is common for parents who share physical custody of their children to also share legal custody, or the right to make decisions about a child's upbringing, it is less common the other way around.