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Integrated Domestic Violence Court

A Bronx Estate Lawyer said that, the subject children are the parties’ twin sons, born June 19, 1997 in the Dominican Republic. It is undisputed that the father obtained a default order of custody there in April 2002, an order appealed by the mother and affirmed by the Dominican court in October 2002, a month after she had brought the boys to the United States. In quick succession, the Integrated Domestic Violence Court which has jurisdiction over both criminal and family law matters received a criminal prosecution against the father based on his alleged November 8, 2002 threats to kill the mother; a writ of habeas corpus filed by the father on November 12, 2002 under article 6 of the Family Court Act seeking enforcement of the Dominican custody order; a injury petition for custody of the two boys filed by the mother on December 4, 2002 under article 6 of the Family Court Act; and a family offense petition filed the same day by the mother under article 8 of the Family Court Act, alleging additional acts of domestic violence.

A Bronx Estate Litigation Lawyer said that, a law guardian assigned on November 12, 2002 to represent the children reported an extensive history of domestic violence. Based upon this information, the court assumed temporary emergency jurisdiction under Domestic Relations Law § 76-c, and directed the Administration for Children’s Services to interview both parents and the children. A review of the documents of the Dominican proceedings confirms that the mother and father separated in November 1998. At that time, pursuant to an agreement signed before assistant to the prosecutor the father consented to the terms of an order of protection, agreeing to refrain from assaulting the mother verbally or physically, and to vacate the family home until the mother was able to find other housing. He agreed to pay child support, and was given regular visitations “as long as he behaves appropriately.”

The mother left the Dominican Republic in December 1999, leaving the children with her mother, remarrying in June 2000. Just five weeks later on August 2, 2000, while the mother was still in the United States, the father filed a claim for custody of the two children in the “Court of the First Instance for Children and Adolescents of the Distrito Nacional.” The maternal grandmother, who had physical custody of the children at the time, was named as defendant in the matter.

In a forensic report submitted to the Dominican District Court on November 10, 2000, the evaluator who had interviewed only the father, as the mother was not in the country concluded that he should have custody as the mother “is both physically and emotionally absent, and that the other family ties, according to the father, are not the most adequate for the children’s emotional or intellectual development. In this case, the father figure would be of vital importance, as such, we suggest beginning individual and family therapy to address some of the previously reported accident issues.”

On December 1, 2000, in the midst of the Dominican judicial proceeding, the mother temporarily ceded custody of their sons to the father, in a document known as a “friendly agreement,” signed before the law guardian. The custody medical dispute thus came to a halt. It is not known why, or under what circumstances, the mother did this. In February 2002, the father reactivated the Dominican custody proceeding. In his request for a hearing he alleged that “the amicable agreement between the parties is not being adhered to.” The nature of the violation that prompted the father’s action was not specified. By that time, however, the mother apparently lived in the United States and had regular, though intermittent, contact with the boys.

If you have issues disputes relating to the case at bar, seek the immediate opinion of a Bronx Estate Litigation Attorney and Bronx Probate Attorney at Stephen Bilkis and Associates.

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