Santiagov.Henderson

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.Nov 19, 2014
996 N.Y.S.2d 686 (N.Y. App. Div. 2014)
996 N.Y.S.2d 686122 A.D.3d 8662014 N.Y. Slip Op. 8033

2013-11175, (Docket Nos. V-17194-13, V-17197-13)

11-19-2014

In the Matter of Milagros Angelina Henriquez SANTIAGO, et al., appellants, v. Leeanders HENDERSON, respondent-respondent, et al., respondent.

 Phillip J. Jusino, Lake Grove, N.Y., for appellants. Janessa M. Trotto, Holbrook, N.Y., for respondent-respondent. Margaret Carlo, Bayport, N.Y., attorney for the child.


Phillip J. Jusino, Lake Grove, N.Y., for appellants.

Janessa M. Trotto, Holbrook, N.Y., for respondent-respondent.

Margaret Carlo, Bayport, N.Y., attorney for the child.

MARK C. DILLON, J.P., CHERYL E. CHAMBERS, JEFFREY A. COHEN, and JOSEPH J. MALTESE, JJ.

Opinion In a custody proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act article 6, the petitioners appeal from an order of the Family Court, Suffolk County (Whelan, J.), dated October 30, 2013, which, without a hearing, granted the father's motion to dismiss the petition for lack of standing.

ORDERED that the order is affirmed, without costs or disbursements.

“As between a parent and a nonparent, the parent has the superior right to custody that cannot be denied unless the nonparent establishes that the parent has relinquished that right due to surrender, abandonment, persistent neglect, unfitness, or other like extraordinary circumstances” (Matter of Wilson v. Smith, 24 A.D.3d 562, 563, 808 N.Y.S.2d 263 ; see Matter of Bennett v. Jeffreys, 40 N.Y.2d 543, 548, 387 N.Y.S.2d 821, 356 N.E.2d 277 ; Matter of Barcellos v. Warren–Kidd, 57 A.D.3d 984, 985, 870 N.Y.S.2d 443 ; Matter of Hyde v. King, 47 A.D.3d 813, 849 N.Y.S.2d 650 ; Matter of Bermeo v. Rios, 33 A.D.3d 613, 821 N.Y.S.2d 469 ; Matter of Dungee v. Simmons, 307 A.D.2d 312, 762 N.Y.S.2d 514 ). The burden of proof is on the nonparent to prove such extraordinary circumstances (see Matter of Tristram K., 25 A.D.3d 222, 226, 804 N.Y.S.2d 83 ). Absent proof of such extraordinary circumstances, an inquiry into the best interests of the child is not triggered (see Matter of Dungee v. Simmons, 307 A.D.2d at 312–313, 762 N.Y.S.2d 514 ). Here, the Family Court properly determined that the nonparent petitioners, whose petition to adopt the subject child was correctly denied (see Matter of Baby Girl N. [Anonymous], 122 A.D.3d 858, 996 N.Y.S.2d 367 [Appellate Division Docket No. 2013–09330; decided herewith] ), failed, in this custody proceeding, to allege the existence of extraordinary circumstances. Accordingly, the Family Court properly granted the father's motion to dismiss their custody petition for lack of standing (see Matter of Marquis B. v. Alexis H., 110 A.D.3d 790, 973 N.Y.S.2d 264 ; see also Matter of Andracchi v. Reetz, 106 A.D.3d 734, 966 N.Y.S.2d 102 ; Matter of Lampitt v. Lampitt, 103 A.D.3d 897, 959 N.Y.S.2d 550 ; Matter of Brown v. Zuzierla, 73 A.D.3d 765, 900 N.Y.S.2d 414 ).