Matter of Constantine v. Hopkins
Justice Leslie Stein
Mother appealed from an order dismissing her application to hold father in violation of a prior visitation order. The couple was awarded joint legal custody, with physical custody to father and mother visitations rights. Visitation was to occur at a police station in Broome County, and mother was ordered to "make a good faith effort to contribute to the cost of transportation." Mother alleged father was in contempt as he failed to drop the child off for visitation. Father testified he brought the child for visitation but mother failed to show up nor did she contribute to any costs, noting he could not afford transportation without financial help. After a hearing, Family Court dismissed the violation petition concluding the evidence did not support a finding father willfully violated it, and sua sponte ordered that visitation take place in Tompkins County where father and child reside, with transportation costs being borne by mother. This court concluded the record supported a finding father did not willfully violate the prior order, but erred in modifying it. It noted mother did not have notice the terms of visitation were an issue during the proceeding, reversing that portion of the order.