STATE OF NEW YORK
SUPREME COURT : COUNTY OF CHAUTAUQUA
ELIZABETH M. GRUPA,
-vs- Index #H-8319
MARK D. GRUPA,
MARGARET LOGAN NOONAN, ESQ.
FOLEY, FOLEY & PASSAFARO
(Jeffrey G. Passafaro, Esq.
of Counsel) for Defendant
The parties in this matter are asking the Court to define what
is meant by "liberal visitation".
On December 3, 1993, this Court issued a decision providing for
joint custody with physical placement to the mother and liberal
access to the father. The liberal access referred to was essentially
a shared custody/visitation arrangement whereby the child spent
each evening with the father while the mother worked the second
Sometime this past fall, the mother's work shift changed to 7:00
P.M. to 4:00 A.M. Since that time, it the shared visitation schedule
has not worked out.
Apparently these parties consulted with Dr. Bongiovanni and a
report was to be issued, but this Court has never received a report
to this date.
The father contends he is being deprived of liberal access because
his visitation has been reduced to alternate week-ends. He wants
the prior arrangement to be reinstated.
The mother contends the prior arrangement produced continued problems
with drop off, pick up and care of the child. She claimed the
parties could not get along at all; and that the father was leaving
the child with other people but not advising her of his whereabouts.
According to the mother, she often would arrive at the father's
place to pick the child up after work at 10 p.m. only to learn
the child was not there. She would have no idea where he was.
She further claims the child should have been sleeping at that
hour and that he was sometimes in inappropriate places which she
did not define or identify. Finally, she claims the child has
behavioral problems and is often ill after time with the father.
It appears there has been a change in circumstances in that the
plaintiff has had a change in her schedule and that the shared
arrangement between the parties for the care of the child no longer
With the change in the mother's schedule, she is now able to spend
almost all the child's waking hours with him. She goes to work
shortly before his bed time, and he is asleep during most of the
time she is at work. She has submitted a sworn affidavit that
she has a regular child care provider that is always at home with
the child while she is at work.
The court hereby awards joint custody, with physical placement
with the mother. The father shall have the child with him on alternate
week-ends and have visitation with the child two evenings a week
on Tuesday and Thursday from 3:00 P.M. to 7 P.M. on weeks when
he does not have week-end visitation and one evening a week on
Tuesday from 3:00 to 7:00 P.M. when he does have week- end visitation.
The father shall have alternate week-end visitation from Friday
at 3:00 P.M. to Sundays at 6:30 P.M. This will allow the father
to have liberal access to the child; it will insure that the boy
will have both parents involved in his life; it will enable him
to enjoy some stability and consistency in his schedule.
Both parents are to cooperate with one another for the benefit
of the son. The child's best interests should come first.
Submit order accordingly.
Dated: February 10, 1995
Mayville, New York
Justice of Supreme Court