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Court Decides Jurisdiction in Domestic Violence Case


The discretion of Family Court in New York to handle incidents that have occurred in other states or even other countries has led to many courtroom discussions. The Family Court laws in New York are clear in that they do not limit jurisdiction to events that simply occur in New York. In these laws, New York Criminal Court has concurrent jurisdiction with New York Family Court. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the deciding factor becomes whether or not the family resides in New York. In a case where the entire family no longer resides in New York, the person who is being served with the New York Family Court Documents must be served in New York. The reason for this division is that if the offender is not in New York, there is no imminent threat of further domestic violence to the family. However, if all parties are in New York long enough for the alternate person to be served, then the threat has continued. If the threat has continued, then jurisdiction relies on New York to protect the family from violence.

On December 21, 1989, a New York family who had moved to Florida had an altercation in Florida. During the altercation, the victim claims that the abuser, her husband, grabbed her by the hair pulling it out, slapped her and threw her onto the back patio of their house. The victim claims that also in Florida on January 16, 1990, the husband beat their six year old son, bruising his back, legs, and buttocks. The victim also claims that during the week of January 21, 1990, that her husband watched as she tried to close a window for the second time. He told her that she will never live to do it a third time.

The victim advised the court in New York that she and her family had moved to Florida in July of 1989. She stated that she had been afraid that if she did not move with him that he would take her children away. On February 1, 1990, shortly after the last incidence of violence, the victim moved back to New York with her children. She was afraid for her safety, so she moved into a shelter in Monroe County. On February 16, 1990, while she was living in the shelter, she was granted a temporary order of protection. It was later extended to April 27, 1990. A Long Island Criminal Lawyer said the husband was served in New York since he has weekly, supervised visitation with the children.

The husband, through his attorney claimed that the Family Court of New York did not have jurisdiction over this case because the criminal acts were committed in Florida. Since the criminal acts were committed in another jurisdiction, he maintains that there is no New York Family Court claim to concurrent jurisdiction. The court disagrees because the orders were served in New York. Had the orders been served in Florida, they would agree. However, the threat to the wife and child is still valid if the husband can be located in New York to be served. The court maintains that if the husband had remained in Florida and the wife had remained in New York, she would have had no remedy in the state of New York. The husband’s motion to dismiss the case against him was denied.

Cases like this one can go different ways depending on the location of each of the parties involved and the scope of the offenses. Domestic violence issues are considered more important now than they were ten years ago, so the scope of the interpretation of the legal precedence is going to be interpreted more fluidly.

Rules of law are complicated. Criminal Attorneys spend years studying the way that law is applied. Whether you have been charges with sex crimes, assault or domestic violence, speak to Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We have convenient offices throughout New York and the Metropolitan area. If you have been charged with a criminal offense, we also have Criminal Attorneys who can protect your rights.

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