IN RE: Joyce Marie CATALANO

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

IN RE: Joyce Marie CATALANO, appellant, v. Christopher CATALANO, respondent.

Decided: October 27, 2009

STEVEN W. FISHER, J.P., JOSEPH COVELLO, THOMAS A. DICKERSON, and PLUMMER E. LOTT, JJ. Joyce Marie Catalano, Middle Island, N.Y., appellant pro se. Christopher Catalano, Middle Island, N.Y., respondent pro se. Debra A. Byrnes, Centereach, N.Y., attorney for the child.

In a custody and visitation proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act article 6, the mother appeals from an order of the Family Court, Suffolk County (Luft, J.), dated September 5, 2008, which, after a hearing, in effect, dismissed her petition to modify the custody provisions of the parties' judgment of divorce entered December 10, 2003, which incorporated, but did not merge, their stipulation of settlement dated July 15, 2003, so as to award her sole custody of the parties' child, and granted, in part, that branch of the father's cross petition which was to modify the “parenting time schedule” of the judgment of divorce.

ORDERED that the order is affirmed, without costs or disbursements.

 The Family Court did not err in dismissing the mother's petition to modify the parties' custody stipulation so as to award her sole custody of the parties' child.   A modification of an existing custody or visitation arrangement should be made only upon a showing of a sufficient change in circumstances demonstrating a genuine need for a change in order to insure the child's best interests (see Family Ct. Act § 652[a];  Matter of Molinari v. Tuthill, 59 A.D.3d 722, 723, 875 N.Y.S.2d 495;  Matter of Manfredo v. Manfredo, 53 A.D.3d 498, 499, 861 N.Y.S.2d 399;  Matter of Sharma v. Sharma, 35 A.D.3d 746, 826 N.Y.S.2d 898).   Here, the mother's testimony did not establish changed circumstances showing that a change of custody would be in the child's best interests (see Foley v. Foley, 52 A.D.3d 773, 861 N.Y.S.2d 386;  see also Matter of Said v. Said, 61 A.D.3d 879, 878 N.Y.S.2d 384).

 The Family Court did not err in finding that modification of the parties' “parenting time schedule” was warranted based on, inter alia, the testimony of the child's treating psychologist (see Matter of Ammirata v. Ammirata, 49 A.D.3d 829, 853 N.Y.S.2d 902;  Matter of La Scola v. Litz, 258 A.D.2d 792, 685 N.Y.S.2d 862;  see also Matter of Murray v. Skiff-Murray, 289 A.D.2d 805, 807, 734 N.Y.S.2d 349).   Further, “ ‘[t]he decision whether to direct a psychological or social evaluation in a child custody dispute ․ is within the sound discretion of the [Family Court]’ ” (Matter of Salamone-Finchum v. McDevitt, 28 A.D.3d 670, 671, 816 N.Y.S.2d 105, quoting Matter of Paul C. v. Tracy C., 209 A.D.2d 955, 955, 622 N.Y.S.2d 159;  see Matter of Nunnery v. Nunnery, 275 A.D.2d 986, 987, 713 N.Y.S.2d 417).   The court did not improvidently exercise its discretion in denying the mother's request for an independent forensic evaluation of the child under the circumstances of this case (see Matter of Paul C. v. Tracy C., 209 A.D.2d at 955, 622 N.Y.S.2d 159).

The mother's remaining contentions are without merit.

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