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Court Rules on Violation of Temporary Orders for Protection

T v T

In this case, the family court determined that the Respondent violated two temporary Orders for Protection. It was found that the court acted properly in entering an order for protection after these findings.

The Petitioner filed an offense petition against the Respondent, She received a temporary Order for Protection. While that order was pending, the court found that the Respondent had violations on two temporary orders. The court dismissed the family offense order but sustained the violation of the petitions and issued a one year order for protection. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

The Respondent argued that the Family Court lacked jurisdiction to rule on a final protection order upon finding that the Respondent had violated a temporary order of protection. This was done without evidence that the conduct constituted a family offense. The court rejects the Respondent’s argument on lack of jurisdiction allegations because it contradicts provisions of the Family Court Act.

The Family Court is indeed limited in jurisdiction (Matter of H.M. v E.T., 14 NY3d 521, 526 [2010]. The statutory procedures for Family Court provisions are in Article 812.

Upon filing a petition, the court may issue a TRO for good cause. It is not a finding of wrongdoing. If there is a violation, a new petition can be filed. The court can hear the petition and take action or may decide that the violation is a contempt of court, or transfer the allegations to criminal court.

When the Family Court retains jurisdiction over a violation, section 846 sets forth dispositions available. If found in violation, the court may modify the existing order, or issue a TRO to add reasonable conditions of behavior to the existing order or commit the Respondent to jail.

The language of the law is the clearest indication of the intent of the law (Majewski v Broadalbin Perth Central School Dist., 91 NY 2d 577, 583 [1998]. Section 846 clearly gives the Family Court the jurisdiction to prosecute family orders.

The Respondent argues that the court’s authority to enter a new order for a protection violation of a TRO may not be exercised where the original petition has been dismissed and the conduct in question isn’t a family offense. The court disagrees. Section 812 provides that the Family Court has concurrent jurisdiction only over certain offenses. Section 115 (c) of the Family Court Act says that the Family Court has such other jurisdiction as provided by law.

The jurisdiction exercised by the Family Court is consistent with the statutory text and Article 8 of the Family Court Act. Allowing the Family Court to retain jurisdiction over the violation of temporary orders entered during proceedings reinforces the goal of protecting victims and preventing domestic violence.

Divorces can be extremely stressful. It is important to ensure your rights are protected at all stages of the process. Contact Stephen Bilkis and Associates for guidance and a free consultation. They have offices to serve you throughout New York, including locations in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County, Nassau County, and Westchester County. Speak with a Suffolk County family lawyer today at 1-800-NYNYLAW.

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