Case Update: Home State under the UCCJEA

In February 2020, the Family Court in Kings County, New York addressed a custody jurisdiction issue between New York and Yemen in the case of Karimah K and Bassim A .  The parents were married in 2002 in a Muslim Religious ceremony in Yemen.  They remained in Yemen until 2005, at which time they moved to New York with their four daughters.  They frequently traveled back and forth between the two countries.  In Spring of 2016, the entire family traveled to Yemen.  The Mother was apparently expecting to return to New York, but the Father unilaterally decided to remain in Yemen.  The family lived together until November 2018 in Yemen, at which time the Mother vacated the home, without the children, and began living with her brother in Yemen.  In April 2019, she returned to New York, leaving the children in Yemen.  She then commenced custody proceedings on October 9, 2019 in NY.  There was some significant wrangling in the New York court initially, with orders to surrender passports, tempo

Case Update: attorney fee award in Hague Abduction return proceeding; no fees for the prevailing respondent

The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, in Stone v. Stone , (2020 WL 491194) reaffirmed that a prevailing respondent in a Hague Abduction return proceeding is not entitled to an award of fees.  Specifically, ICARA section 9001, et. seq ., requires the respondent to pay necessary expenses if the petitioner prevails.  There is no provision under which a respondent may recover fees and costs from a petitioner.  This is bolstered by caselaw in other circuits.  Furthermore, the American Rule typically requires each party to bear the burden of his or her own legal expenses. 

Case Update: Request for alternative service using FedEx to a Defendant located in a treaty partner under the Hague Service Convention

The Supreme Court of New York, Warren County, in Sweet-Martinez v. Martinez , ( 2020 NY Slip Op 20195)  authorized alternative service by Federal Express to a Defendant for an uncontested divorce proceeding (without children).  The Defendant had previously been removed and returned to Mexico.  Plaintiff had communicated with her Husband in Mexico, and had, what she believed to be his residential address in Mexico.  She sent paperwork to this address by postal mail, but the Defendant did not acknowledge receipt nor file any responsive pleadings in the divorce case.   The Supreme Court acknowledged that the U.S. and Mexico are treaty partners under the Hague Service Convention, and inquired as to what steps Sweet-Martinez had taken to ensure service was effectuated pursuant to this treaty.  She indicated that, on June 12, 2020 (less than 2 months prior to this court's opinion), she had prepared and submitted, by postal mail, a request for service to the Mexican Central Authority, and

Case Update: I-864, support of an immigrant, interplay with alimony and divorce suit

This is a really interesting case that addresses the issue of an I-864 contract.  This immigration form is completed by a U.S. citizen who commits to ensuring that an applicant for residency maintains an income of 125% of the federal poverty level.  This obligation is indefinite, unless a specific "terminating event" occurs.  In the case of Pachal v. Bugreeff , Ms. Bugreeff signed an I-864EZ on behalf of Mr. Pachal, her fiance.  Prior to marrying, they also signed a prenuptial agreement waiving alimony.  About five years later, Bugreeff filed for divorce.  The proceeding progressed, and nearly 2 years after the filing, Pachal was ordered to leave the marital home, at which time he sought temporary alimony.  Separate from the ongoing state court divorce proceedings, Pachal filed a federal suit to enforce the I-864EZ.  Ms. Bugreeff filed to dismiss the federal suit, using the abstention doctrine.   As a refresher, the Younger doctrine mandates a federal court to abstain if four

Case Update: recognition of a foreign unilateral divorce for purposes of a U.S. citizenship application

 Mr. Imad Jaffal sues the U.S. government for citizenship ( Jaffal v. Thompson ).  The underlying issue for whether Jaffal can be granted citizenship revolves around his parents' divorce, which occurred in Jordan.  Apparently, his father obtained a unilateral divorce from his mother in the shari'a court in Jordan.  The divorce was revocable and then turned into an irrevocable divorce after the requisite period of time passed.  Further, at the time of the divorce, both of Jaffal's parents were domiciliaries of the state of Ohio in the United States.  The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey concluded it could not recognize the Jordanian divorce, which was fatal to Jaffal's citizenship claim.  The divorce was unilateral and there was no evidence that Jaffal's mother had any notice of it, therefore it was not entitled to recognition as a matter of comity as it violated public policy.  Furthermore, it was, in all reality, equal to a "mail order"