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Nassau County Family Law Blog

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Bill O’Reilly’s Children Choose to Live With Their Mother

How much weight does the child’s preference carry in a custody case?

When there is an issue of child support and two parents cannot come to a resolution, the courts will often become involved.  The courts decide custody matters according to the best interest of the child standard. This standard consists of many factors, one of which is the preference of the subject child.  The preference of the children has played a large role in an ongoing New York case involving a celebrity news anchor.

Famed Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly married Maureen McPhilmy in 1996 and they had two children.  By 2010 the marriage was falling apart and the couple separated.  They ultimately divorced in 2011.  The issue of child custody arose and was resolved by awarding joint residential custody to both parents.  In the recent past, the children, now 13 and 17, have expressed that they no longer want to live with their father.  It is alleged that O’Reilly’s 17-year-old daughter revealed to a forensic examiner that she had witnessed her father physically abusing her mother and that she felt he wanted no parental relationship with her.

McPhilmy brought the issue to Nassau County Supreme Court where it was decided that she should have sole residential custody of the children while the parents should have shared legal custody.  This means that the children will live exclusively with their mother but that their father will be able to weigh in on decisions involving schooling, religion and medical care.  O’Reilly appealed the decision to a higher court.  The appeals court affirmed the Supreme Court decision in favor of McPhilmy.

Although the couple is divorced and custody matters have been ironed out, O’Reilly and McPhilmy are still at odds.  Apparently, O’Reilly has accused McPhilmy of contempt of court relating to visits with his daughter. 

If you are facing a difficult divorce and/or custody battle, you need the best counsel you can get by your side.  Contact a Nassau County child custody attorney today.


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