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725 Post 10-17-13 Third Department October.pngThis is such a weird and tortuous case, being that it evolved from the Family Courts of two abutting counties, that I’m going to treat it as a Part 1 and a Part 2. Part 1 begins in Tompkins County Family Court and Part 2 ends in Schuyler County Family Court. Nevertheless, the same judge presides over all matters in each county.

I wouldn’t normally write a blog post this way, but I have a thing for both the alphabetical order of decisions and attributing decisions to specific counties.
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724 Post 10-17-13 Third Department October.pngI always enjoy custody cases that involve the UCCJEA, if only because they never fail to make things interesting. I’ve had attorneys make all sorts of asinine arguments using this statute. The main thing you have to remember about the UCCJEA is The Six Month Rule. Basically, if a child has been living in another state, upon the consent of both parents, then the child’s home state is almost always the state he or she has been living in for the last six months. Of course, things are never quite that easy.
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722 Post 10-17-13 Third Department October.pngThe Third Department will rarely call out a judge for screwing up a case. It’s just not their style. Instead, you need to read between the lines. And while the Third Department recognizes that Family Court has broad discretion, it gets very upset when any of the following three things happen – all of which happened in this particular case: 1) important matters completely fail to make it into the record, 2) the Court does things that no one has specifically requested, and 3) the Court’s bias is showing.

And, yes, there was a damned good reason for the mother getting crushed at trial.
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721 Post 10-17-13 Third Department October.pngI generally read the decisions pertaining to criminal law because, like everyone else, I like a good laugh every now and then. And these decisions never disappoint. It always amazes me how stupid people can be – and still expect that they aren’t going to get caught. Seriously?
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718 Post 10-17-13 Third Department October.pngWhile, normally, these decisions are often affirmations of cases that involve courts saying “Go Directly to Jail, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200.00”, this one is a “Get Out of Jail, Free” decision. And, yeah, I played a whole lotta board games when I was a kid.
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717 Post 10-17-13 Third Department October.pngWe just covered a custody battle between parents the other day. Here, we have a custody battle between a grandparent and a parent, specifically, a mother and her own mother. And where parents only have to show a change in circumstances with a best interests analysis, grandparents have to show a change in circumstances, extraordinary circumstances, and then a best interests analysis. And extraordinary circumstances can be difficult to prove … as this grandmother discovered to her chagrin.
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716 Post 10-17-13 Third Department October.pngThis decision is interesting insofar as it illustrates the intersection of sex offenses with child custody determinations. Any guess as to which party gets the kids when one side is found to have concealed the fact that Grampa is actually Bad Grampa? Seriously, you can’t make this @#$% up.
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