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Nassau County Family Law Blog

Monday, October 17, 2016

NJ Judge Grants Temporary Sole Custody of Bombing Suspect’s Child to the Mother

What are the grounds for an award of sole custody in New York?

The mother of the child whose father has been charged with planting bombs across New York and New Jersey, including the Chelsea blast that injured 31, has been awarded sole custody by a New Jersey judge.  Ahmad Khan Rahami is currently facing federal terrorism charges, in addition to state charges in New Jersey for the attempted murder of police officers.  Rahami has been in court numerous times concerning custody of his child.  He has reportedly been in arrears on child support on several occasions.  In 2014, a judge approved a visitation agreement between the two parents.  After the bombing, however, the mother moved the court to grant her sole custody.  In light of the charges lodged against Rahami, the judge granted this request temporarily, and it will likely be revisited as the criminal cases unfurl. 

Sole Custody in New York

Under certain circumstances, you may wish to seek sole custody of your child.  Sole custody means that you have sole legal and physical custody of the child.  You will make all decisions concerning the child and your physical residence will be the child’s primary residence.  At times, the other parent will be awarded some form of visitation. 

Generally, courts in New York prefer an award of joint custody.  Accordingly, seeking sole custody is something you should carefully consider and should only be sought if in the best interests of the child.  Sole custody may be granted if the other parent is unfit in some manner, such as:

  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • A history of violence
  • Neglect of the child
  • Mental instability

Sole custody may also be awarded if the other parent is absent.  A parent is not considered absent merely because the child does not live with him or her; rather, the parent can be deemed absent if he or she fails to maintain contact with the child, cannot be located, or does not seek any sort of relationship with the child.  If the absent parent later turns up, the court may revisit the award of sole custody. 

For assistance with your child custody matter, contact the Nassau County child custody lawyers at Howard B. Leff, P.C.  Our firm works with clients across the New York City area to obtain favorable outcomes on child custody cases.  


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