Family courts have the authority to release children to the custody of parents in cases where Criminal Court orders of protection forbid child-parent contact but also contemplate future amendments by the Family Court overseeing the case, a Brooklyn appellate court has ruled.

“The Family Court has the unique resources to effectuate and determine the best interests of the children, and its authority to do so should not be circumscribed by a Criminal Court order of protection which expressly contemplates future amendment of its terms by a subsequent Family Court order pertaining to custody and visitation,” Justice John Leventhal (See Profile) of the Appellate Division, Second Department, wrote for a unanimous panel in Matter of Brianna L., 2012-05594, reversing a lower court.

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