IN RE: Eric LEVANDE

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

IN RE: Eric LEVANDE, Respondent, v. Devorah LEVANDE, a/k/a Debbie Shabtai, Appellant.  (Proceeding No. 1).

IN RE: Eric Levande, Respondent, v. Devorah Levande, a/k/a Debbie Shabtai, Appellant.  (Proceeding No. 2).

IN RE: Paul Levande, Respondent, v. Devorah Shabtai Levande, Appellant.  (Proceeding No. 3).

IN RE: Esther Levande, Respondent, v. Devorah Shabtai Levande, Appellant.  (Proceeding No. 4).

IN RE: Janice Zarad, Respondent, v. Devorah Shabtai Levande, Appellant.  (Proceeding No. 5).

Decided: September 08, 2003

MYRIAM J. ALTMAN, J.P., GABRIEL M. KRAUSMAN, DANIEL F. LUCIANO and STEPHEN G. CRANE, JJ. Devorah Levande, a/k/a Debbie Shabtai, Brooklyn, NY, appellant pro se.

In four related family offense proceedings pursuant to Family Court Act article 8, and a custody proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act article 6, the appeals are from (1) four orders of protection of the Family Court, Kings County (Turbow, J.), all dated May 17, 2001, which, after a hearing, inter alia, directed the appellant to stay away from the respective petitioners until May 16, 2002, and (2) an order of the same court dated May 24, 2001, which, after a hearing, granted the petitioner Eric Levande the right to supervised visitation with his daughter Sarah Rose Levande.

ORDERED that the appeals from the orders of protection are dismissed as academic, without costs or disbursements;  and it is further,

ORDERED that the order dated May 24, 2001, is affirmed, without costs or disbursements.

 The orders of protection appealed from have already expired by their own terms on May 16, 2002.   Since the rights of the parties will not be directly affected by a determination as to the propriety of the orders of protection, these appeals are dismissed as academic (see Greene v. Greene, 216 A.D.2d 393, 628 N.Y.S.2d 517;  Matter of Brown v. Brown, 185 A.D.2d 812, 587 N.Y.S.2d 845;  Matter of McClure v. McClure, 176 A.D.2d 325, 326, 574 N.Y.S.2d 523).   Further, we find that the issuance of the orders of protection in this case did not constitute a “permanent and significant stigma which might indirectly affect the appellant's status in potential future proceedings” (Matter of McClure v. McClure, supra at 326, 574 N.Y.S.2d 523;  cf.   Matter of H., Children, 156 A.D.2d 520, 548 N.Y.S.2d 586).

 The natural right of visitation jointly enjoyed by the noncustodial parent and the child is more precious than any property right (see Resnick v. Zoldan, 134 A.D.2d 246, 247, 520 N.Y.S.2d 434;  Biamby v. Biamby, 114 A.D.2d 830, 494 N.Y.S.2d 741), and it may not be denied absent a showing of exceptional circumstances (see Kozak v. Kozak, 111 A.D.2d 842, 843, 490 N.Y.S.2d 583;  Daghir v. Daghir, 82 A.D.2d 191, 194, 441 N.Y.S.2d 494, affd. 56 N.Y.2d 938, 453 N.Y.S.2d 609, 439 N.E.2d 324).   A determination concerning visitation is within the sound discretion of the hearing court based upon the best interests of the child (see Koppenhoefer v. Koppenhoefer, 159 A.D.2d 113, 116, 558 N.Y.S.2d 596), and its determination will not be set aside unless it lacks a substantial basis in the record (id.).   Here, the hearing court's decision to grant the father supervised visitation has a substantial basis.

The appellant's remaining contentions are without merit.

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