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In recent months two significant court rulings have impacted the legal spectrum of divorce. here’s how FCA § 1015 To McDowell v Marshall will play into family law in 2024.

FCA § 1015

Family Court rules FCA § 1015-a permits instructing social services to take kids in temporary custody to supervised visits pre-final disposition. In the case of D.G., G.C., G.L., I.C., I.L., K.C., L.C., M.C., S.C., Family Court noted authority under Family Ct Act §§ 255, 1015-a and 18 NYCRR §§ 427.3(c)(1); 441.15 to provide foster children with necessary services, including visit expenses. FCA § 1015-a authorizes courts to order services for family protection, rehabilitation, or child discharge from foster care, encompassing visitation. FCA § 1030 applies to kids in temporary custody pre-final disposition, ensuring parents’ visitation rights. Family Court stressed visitation as crucial for family ties and reunification, mandating bi-weekly visits. Despite the Petitioning Agency’s resource argument, the Court directed Catholic Guardian Services to transport I.C. and S.C. for their second weekly supervised visit, granting the Mother’s request.

McDowell v Marshall

In the Matter of McDowell v Marshall, the Appellate Division, Second Department stated that unfounded, repeated claims of sexual abuse constitute a significant change warranting a best interest hearing for modifying custody arrangements. Altering custody demands demonstrating subsequent changes for the child’s best interests, assessed through a holistic view. Persistent baseless allegations of sexual abuse qualify as a substantial shift. Custody arrangements originating from party agreements carry less weight than court determinations. The Family Court rightly noted a change due to the mother’s ongoing sexual abuse claims during the child’s medical care post-previously dismissed allegations. Also, evidence of a hostile parental relationship indicated unworkable joint decision-making, constituting another change. The decision to transfer primary custody and decision-making authority to the father was deemed valid, ensuring the child’s best interests based on substantial evidence.


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