HARTFORD, Conn. -- In the two years since Fotis and Jennifer Farber Dulos filed for divorce, the oldest of the five children, twin boys, have grown into young teens -- old enough, Fotis Dulos' lawyers now say, to choose whether to live with their father while the search for their missing mother continues.
Jennifer Farber Dulos' mother has had temporary custody of the five children in her New York City apartment since June. It's time that the two 13 1/2-year-old boys get their own lawyer and tell a judge where they want to live, Fotis Dulos attorneys say in a motion dated Thursday and filed in Stamford Superior Court.
Dulos, 51, who, along with girlfriend Michelle Troconis, 44, is charged with hindering prosecution and evidence tampering in connection with Jennifer Dulos' disappearance, is pursuing custody of all five children. The criminal charges are felonies.
The two oldest, "both of sufficient age and maturity, may well have an informed and intelligent view on a variety of subjects, from custody to therapy to water skiing -- that obviously have not been influenced by (Dulos), with whom they have had no contact since May 22, 2019," attorney Richard Rochlin of West Hartford writes in the motion for appointment of counsel.
The references to therapy and waterskiing arise from the disintegration of the couple's marriage and the bitter divorce case. In her own writings and in court papers, Jennifer Dulos viewed them as sore points -- her husband was not supportive enough of therapy for the children and subjected them to a water skiing regimen more suited for himself, a champion skier, than his children. Dulos has countered that he has been a highly supportive father and that the kids love the competitive success that the training has brought them.
Up to this point, the children have been represented by Michael Meehan, a guardian ad litem. Meehan has the children's best interests in mind, but does not advocate or file motions on their behalf. Meehan investigates, by talking to therapists and others involved with the children, forms a position and makes recommendations to the judge.
Dulos believes each of the five children "have a custodial preference to share with the court that should be trusted," the motion states.
Rochlin writes the two oldest boys "may need a pure advocate at this age, someone who is, decidedly, not neutral. That attorney can file briefs and claims for relief, examine witnesses, participate in argument and otherwise give unvarnished voice to his clients' wishes."
In addition, Dulos has asked a judge, in a separate motion dated Friday and filed in Superior Court in Stamford, to order the children's grandmother to turn over medical and school records for the five children. Dulos claims the grandmother, Gloria Farber, has so far refused to do so.
Meehan, the guardian ad litem, "has advised that Ms. Farber is unwilling to share such information with Mr. Dulos," the second motion states. It goes on to say that Dulos' parental rights "have not been terminated and he is presumed innocent of all criminal charges."
Meanwhile, Fotis Dulos is appealing the order granting temporary custody to Farber as the police investigation and search for Jennifer Dulos approaches the three-month mark on Saturday.
Dulos and Troconis have both pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges they face. Both are free on $500,000 bail and are scheduled to appear next month in Stamford Superior Court.
Farber Dulos, 50, disappeared on May 24 after dropping her children off at school in New Canaan. She and Dulos have been involved in a contentious divorce and child custody proceedings for the past two years.
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