IN RE: Valerie GRAVES

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.

IN RE: Valerie GRAVES, respondent, v. Jaha SMITH, appellant.

Decided: September 27, 1999

LAWRENCE J. BRACKEN, J.P., FRED T. SANTUCCI, GLORIA GOLDSTEIN and LEO F. McGINITY, JJ. Jaha Smith, New York, N.Y., appellant pro se. Kenneth Jaffe, Long Beach, N.Y., Law Guardian for the child.

In a proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act article 6, the father appeals from an order of the Family Court, Kings County (Pearce, J.), dated December 2, 1997, which, after a fact-finding hearing, modified the visitation schedule set forth in a prior order of the same court, dated March 2, 1993, to provide that visitation is to take place only under the supervision of a duly-certified mental health professional or his or her designee until the father obtains therapy, and until his therapist and the child's therapist agree on unsupervised contacts.

ORDERED that the order is reversed, on the law and the facts, without costs or disbursements, and the visitation schedule contained in the order dated March 2, 1993, is reinstated.

 We agree with the father that the Family Court erred in conditioning unsupervised visits upon the father obtaining therapy.   While the Family Court may order a parent or child to be examined by a psychiatrist and may consider the report before arriving at its judgment as to custody and/or visitation rights, the court has no power to compel a party to undergo therapy before considering awarding visitation to the party (see, Matter of Paris v. Paris, 95 A.D.2d 857, 464 N.Y.S.2d 221;  Matter of Grado v. Grado, 44 A.D.2d 854, 356 N.Y.S.2d 85).

 To be meaningful, visitation must be frequent and regular (WEISS V. WEISS, 76 A.D.2D 863, 428 n.y.s.2d 506, affd. 52 n.y.2d 170, 175, 436 N.Y.S.2d 862, 418 N.E.2d 377;  Daghir v. Daghir, 82 A.D.2d 191, 441 N.Y.S.2d 494, affd. 56 N.Y.2d 938, 453 N.Y.S.2d 609, 439 N.E.2d 324).   Here, there was an insufficient showing that unsupervised visitation would be detrimental to the child's well-being (see, Matter of Nancy M. v. Brian M., 227 A.D.2d 404, 642 N.Y.S.2d 66;  Matter of Gerald D. v. Lucille S., 188 A.D.2d 650, 591 N.Y.S.2d 528).

MEMORANDUM BY THE COURT.

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