Custody Arrangements: Splitting Up the Kids

As the largest family law practice in Long Island, we fight for the best interests of our clients and their children, working to create custody arrangements that fit the circumstances of each family situation. While parents sometimes agree to sole or joint custody, they less often agree to split up their children, but a recent celebrity custody battle ended just that way.

Celebrity wedding planner David Tutera and his partner Ryan Jurica were joined in a commitment ceremony in Vermont in 2003, and that state later legalized same-sex marriage in 2009. On January 1 of this year, Mr. Tutera and Mr. Jurica broke up, resulting in the filing of divorce proceedings by both parties in April.

The proceedings were complicated by the long-time desire of the men to have children. Having failed a number of times, the couple was finally blessed with twins through the process of heteropaternal superfecundation — fraternal twins with different fathers. Points of the temporary custody arrangement worked out between the two include:

  • Mr. Tutera parents his biological daughter Cielo in Los Angeles
  • Mr. Jurica parents his biological son Cedric in Connecticut
  • Both fathers say they would like their children to know each other as they grow up

In New York, courts generally honor custody arrangements worked out between parents. In this unusual case with twins, psychologist and author Nancy Segal notes about the split, “I would also be opposed to separating half siblings, [u]sually, there is regret about all the childhood years spent apart.”

By report of both men, starting a family was intended to help save their relationship. As it turns out, the relationship broke up before the children were born. After the split, Mr. Tutera stated, “there wasn't time to mourn the loss of a second child.”

Children are rarely an effective tool to save a relationship. When you have questions about custody or divorce in New York, seek experienced legal counsel in Long Island.

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