Uncooperative Father Loses Right to Help Make Decisions on Child’s Education
Scholar v Timinisky
2011 NY Slip Op 06226
Decided on August 9, 2011
Appellate Division, Second Department
The supreme court ordered husband to comply with parts of the parties’ stipulation of settlement, which was incorporated into their judgment of divorce, altered the custody arrangement to award wife sole decision-making authority on the child’s education if the parties could not agree on a parenting coordinator, disqualified a certain individual from being an arbitrator of issues surrounding the child, and barred husband from beinging any additonal motions without prior permission from the court.
The Second Department affirmed. Resolving a dispute regarding joint decision making authority with respect to a child requires determining the child’s best interests, based on the totality of the circumstances. The lower court had adequate information that the parties were unable to cooperate on making decisions regarding the child’s education, and therefore no hearing was necessary to determine that it was in the child’s best interest to award mother sole decision-making authority if the parties cannot agree on a parenting coordinator. The lower court properly disqualified a particular individual from serving as arbitrator. The attorney for the child had authority to ask the court to direct husband to pay his share of the preschool education costs.
Although public policy requires free access to the courts, husband forfeited that right by abusing the judicial process with vexatious litigation. The lower court providently exercised its disgression in prohibiting husband from bringing any further motions without leave of the court.