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Family Court has Extraterritorial Jurisdiction

family-150x150In November of 2010, Family Court Judge Julianne S. Eisman, sitting in Nassau County, New York, rendered a decision that the New York Family Court has subject matter jurisdiction over acts that take place outside of the United States of America.

Children Assaulted In Anguila

A social worker named Annette Richardson pushed her daughter to the floor, screamed and cursed at her while in Anguilla. The children’s grandmother struck one child on the head with a glass bowl and another claimed that the grandmother ran after him with a meat clever. Motions to dismiss these proceedings in the family court were brought by the attorneys for the mother and the grandmother. These motions claim that the court did not have subject matter jurisdiction because the incidents took place outside of the country.

Judge Eisman’s decision stated, “the fact that this took place in the West Indies is no different from it taking place in Pennsylvania, Virginia or Vermont.” Her ruling stated that since all of the parties involved were residents of Nassau County, they are entitled to litigate these matters in Nassau County.

Judge Eisman ruled that Annette Richardson had committed various family offenses and she granted the application for orders of protection, which excluded her from the family’s home in Nassau County, New York.

Ms. Richardson appealed this matter to the Second Department (in the Appellate Court). The Second Department unanimously concluded that the Family Court Act sets no geographic boundries for family offenses. They stated in their decision that the plain language of Family Court Act section a-12 provides that the Family Court has jurisdiction regarding family offense proceedings where the petition to the court alleges the commission of certain proscribed acts.

Domestic Violence and Fathers

The large majority of domestic violence cases are brought against fathers.Child Protection Services (CPS) and The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) are organizations authorized to investigate and prosecutedomestic violence matters in New York. Investigations by these agencies can be the basis of child abuse and child neglect proceedings against fathers. During the course of the investigation, preliminary orders of protection are usually issued by the family court. The impact of these orders of protection can cause the removal of one the parents from the home where the children reside. Attorneys for the child, or the children, are appointed to represent the child or children’s best interest in these proceedings. Our law office has more than thirty years of experience inproviding legal defense in child abuse cases.

Child abuse cases can sometimes lead to the parties being divorced. In these types of cases, it is important to have experienced fathers’ rights attorneys providing legal representation. Feel free to call our law office for a free consultation regarding domestic violence issues.

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