Last updated at 8:36 PM on 28th February 2011
A judge decided it was better for a boy to live with his homeless father in a shelter than stay with his $90,000-a-year mother - after the mother criticised the legal process.
Jeanette Traylor, who is a court worker herself, was even denied visitation rights, according to the New York Post
Instead her 17-year-old son is staying with his father, John Jacobs, who 'has been living in storefronts and borrowed rooms and basements' for years, according to court papers.
Homeless shelter: Tilden Hall in Brooklyn, where the 17-year-old will live with his father - instead of his $90,000-a-year mother - after he was awarded custody
The father 'constantly misled' investigators - and a psychologist testified that he had 'severe reservations' about Mr Jacobs' parenting skills, the court papers said.
But the father and son are now living together in a city-run shelter in Brooklyn, New York.
'I begged the judge please not to play with my son's life,' Miss Traylor, a court clerk in Manhattan Supreme Court, told The Post. 'What my ex-husband does doesn't surprise me.
'But I expected better when I went to court.'
But Mr Jacobs - who split from Miss Traylor in 1995, shortly after their son's birth - insisted to the newspaper that the teenager is better off with him.
'If I was in a cardboard box and if it was better for my son, so be it.
Decision: Judge Bernard Graham hit out at the mother after she criticised the legal process
'One parent is healthier for the child than the other . . . When you add the whole thing together, I'm better for the boy. That's the bottom line.'
After their split, the couple shared custody until a judge gave Miss Traylor primary physical custody in 2001.
Mr Jacobs decided to challenge the decision and over the last decade, more than 30 petitions and motions have been filed between them.
Their son claimed in 2008 that his mother struck him with an umbrella, according to court papers. Miss Traylor denies the allegation.
Documents also revealed that the mother had been arrested several times - but that she had never been convicted of anything. She claims all of the arrests were at her husband's request.
Earlier this month, Family Court Judge Bernard Graham took custody from Traylor and gave it to Jacobs.
The judge said his decision was based on the wishes of the boy, who, according to the court papers, claimed his mother was 'self-absorbed' and uninterested in his issues.
He had demanded to live with his father, it is claimed.
Before giving his decision, however, the judge hit out at Miss Traylor for being 'quick to offer barbed criticism of the court and the legal process', according to the New York Post.
Judge Graham did not return MailOnline's call.