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Court Decides Jurisdiction Issue


This case is being heard in the New York Supreme Court located in Kings County. The plaintiff in the case is Elizabeth Benson Weiss and the defendant in the case is Bruce Weiss. The defendant/husband, Bruce Weiss has moved for an order to dismiss the complaint that has been made against him by the plaintiff/wife, Elizabeth Benson Weiss. The defendant basis his argument for dismissal on the fact that the lack of jurisdiction by the court. Alternatively, the defendant wishes to have the venue of this case moved to the Family Division, District Court located in Clark County, Nevada.

Case Background

A New York Family Lawyer said the couple was married in 1986 in New York, New York. The couple lived in Brooklyn, New York for their entire marriage. The couple states that they physically separated a few years ago. The couple has one child, a daughter named Jessica.

The defendant began the action for divorce in the Family Division, District Court, located in Clarke County, Nevada. The defendant states that he has had his home in the state of Nevada for over six weeks before beginning the action for divorce. He entered the divorce request on the 20th of May, 2008.

Around the 25th of June, the plaintiff found a copy of the complaint and summons from the Nevada Court taped to the front door of her apartment in Brooklyn, New York. The plaintiff did not answer the complaint and did not make an appearance in the courtroom in Nevada. A New York Custody Lawyer said the plaintiff received a final decree of divorce on the 29th of August. This decree was entered by the Family Division of the District Court of Clark County, Nevada on the 31st of July, 2008.

Court Discussion and Decision

The defendant has submitted the decree of divorce from the Nevada court into evidence. The decree states that the plaintiff had been personally served with the complaint and summons and failed to answer. The court finds that because the plaintiff has not replied to the complaint and summons that they are in compliance with the summons.

The Nevada court states that they only have jurisdiction over the defendant and does not have personal jurisdiction of the plaintiff and the minor child. A Queens Family Lawyer said the decree states that all of the property, debts, and other issues pertaining to the couple must be addressed in the state of New York.

The plaintiff started this particular action in the case on the 30th of September, 2008. The plaintiff is seeking a declaratory judgment stating that the decree of divorce that was made by the court in Nevada is invalid. The plaintiff argues that the defendant did not meet the residential requirements for a divorce in Nevada. The plaintiff states that the defendant did not reside in the state of Nevada for the required six consecutive weeks.

The court has carefully reviewed the facts that have been provided in this matter and determined that the decree of divorce made by the court in Nevada is invalid. A Queens Custody Lawyer said the defendant did not have residential status at the time the matter was brought before the court. For this reason, the court rules in favor of the plaintiff and denies the dismissal claim as made by the defendant.

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