In New York, Family Court can only adjudicate matters that involve people in “familial” relationships. Generally, familial relationships are blood relationships, marriage relationships, and intimate relationships. Note that an intimate relationship does not have to be a sexual relationship. However, it does need to be more than a casual friendship. The purpose of a family court proceeding, pursuant to Article 8 of the Family Court Act, is to allow a petitioner the opportunity to seek help for the offending family member instead of subjecting the family member to the potential punishment that would be imposed by a criminal court. In Coleman v. McKenzie, the court was asked to decide if a relationship amounts to a “familial” relationship as contemplated by Article 8 of the Family Court Act.
On December 30, 2021, the petitioner filed a petition in Family Court requesting a final Order of Protection against respondent. In response, the respondent argued that the court should dismiss the petition because the Family Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over this matter because a familial connection did not exist between the petitioner and the respondent. CPLR § 3211 (a)(2). The petitioner responded that that the petitioner and the respondent are “like family,” and therefore have a relationship that satisfies the requirements of Article 8 of the Family Court Act.
In Wissink v. Wissink, there was conclusive evidence that the father physically abused the mother. However, there was also conclusive evidence that the father never physically abused the daughter and that the daughter wanted to live with him. The issue that the Appellate Division considered was the impact of a finding of abuse should have on a determination of custody?
Defendant David Wissink and Plaintiff Jane Wissink were married and have a teenage daughter named Andrea, born on June 21, 1986. She is the biological child of the Jane and David. Jane also has a daughter, Karin, by a prior marriage. The parties have had a turbulent relationship marked by numerous episodes of physical violence, police intervention, and Family Court orders of protection. It is clear that David frequently battered Jane. However, he never directly mistreated Andrea, and Andrea favored him over her mother.
In New York, a family court proceeding, pursuant to Article 8, allows a petitioner, the opportunity to civilly address an action that would otherwise be a crime. A family court proceeding under Article 8 is entirely different from a criminal prosecution for the same types of allegations, or even the exact same incident. However, in a criminal prosecution, the case is brought by the District.
Luis J., and the petitioner’s daughter were each 13 years old when the petition was filed. They had been in an on-and-off dating relationship for several years. The two were classmates in kindergarten and had an intermittent boyfriend-girlfriend relationship from fifth to eighth grade. Initially, the relationship involved handholding, kissing, texting, and phone calls. The daughter testified that by sixth grade, Luis J. was texting or calling several times a day and has become jealous, controlling, and isolating.
As people gathered into the courtroom at Placerville, CA, there was an anxious anticipation that the convicted sex offender and his wife would plead guilty to the June 1991 kidnapping of an 11-year old girl. The kidnapping that had occurred on a South Lake Tahoe street as the girl was walking to a school bus stop and would capture the attention of a nation, would not conclude so unceremoniously. Once all of the participants were in the courtroom, lawyers for both of the defendants entered pleas of not guilty for their clients. The people in the courtroom were stunned since there was widespread anticipation that a plea had been struck that would send the convicted sex offender to prison for the rest of his life.
The couple had been charged with the alleged kidnapping, rape, and imprisonment of 11-year old Jaycee Dugard, who they held captive for 18 years. At 14-years of age, the young Dugard had been forced to give birth to the accused couple’s daughter and another daughter when Dugard was 17. Sources have also told a New York Family Lawyer that it was sheer luck that authorities were able to catch the couple and reunite Dugard with her family.
The couple’s arrest is a result of an alert University of California at Berkeley campus police officers who became suspicious of the man and ran a background check on him. As a result of that check, they learned that he had a prior record for kidnapping and rape in Nevada. They would then inform the man’s parole officer who had no clue that the man had a daughter and instructed him to come into his office for a meeting. The man brought everyone with him to that meeting, including the girl that he kidnapped. The now 30-year old Jaycee Dugard was reunited with her family the following day.
A 40 year old woman has been accused of dousing her boyfriend with nail polish remover in an argument and lighting him on fire, according to reports by a New York Family Lawyer. The woman’s 10 year old son and the couple’s small daughter were reportedly present in the house at the time of the incident. Neighbors called police when they heard an argument escalate into screams of pain. Police arrived on the scene to find the man seriously burned, and blaming his girlfriend. The 44 year old victim alleges that his girlfriend was angry about his drinking, which started the argument that led to the incident in question. The woman denies lighting her boyfriend on fire, claiming that it was he who doused himself with nail polish remover and set his clothes alight, accusing her of the crime, reports the N York Family Lawyer. Neighbors who live in the building expressed surprise and shock when they heard about the incident, saying that they had heard the couple argue on numerous occasions but had never expected that violence would erupt in the apartment. A judge ruled the woman to stand trial and has place her under arrest with $200,000 bail. The two children were taken into custody and have been placed in foster care and they are undergoing evaluation, stated the New York Family Lawyer. More information on this case will be released pending further investigation. A trial hearing had been set for January 12 and results of that hearing are as yet unavailable. Domestic abuse is often a precursor to legal disputes within a family unit.
If you find yourself in a dangerous or questionable situation, needing consultation or legal advice, call a N York Family Attorney to find out what your rights are. do not let a bad situation escalate into a criminal case. Call a respected New York Family Attorney today.
The firm of Stephen Bilkis & Associates with convenient locations thorughout the Metropolitan Area, including servicing Arverne, N.Y., can be of invaluable assistance to you if you find yourself a party to a case. Facing the Court without professional representation could lead to disastrous results.