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New York Appellate Court Discusses Jurisdiction Related to an Order of Protection


On Feb 7, 1997, a Rochester man appeared before the Supreme Court Appellate Division, Fourth Department to request that an order of protection against him that had been granted to his step daughter be revoked. The order had been granted by Family Court in that the step daughter testified that her stepfather had stalked her and that he had been convicted of raping her in 1985. At the time that he was convicted of raping her, she was only 11 years old. The mother divorced the stepfather that same year presumably because of these actions. The girl advised that he began stalking her in 1995.

The stepfather argued that since the girl was his step daughter and no actual relation to him that the divorce severed any ties that would give Family Court any venue over this case. He argued that the relationships defined in the law as domestic relationships does not apply to that of stepfather and step daughter.

The court reviewed this topic in light of the step father’s allegation that the court did not have venue in this case. It decided that while the boundaries of domestic relationships have been expanded under the Social Services Law to include persons who are unrelated but who are now or have in the past continually lived in the same household, the court has not broadened those definitions as it relates to the Family Court Act and Criminal Procedure Law. Thus, this court finds that until the Legislature expands the definition of a domestic relationship under the provisions governing family offense proceedings, the Family Court has no jurisdiction to grant an order of protection to this girl against her stepfather.

The court therefore rules that the order is reversed.

In many cases, it is difficult for a person to understand that incidents that occur within the boundaries of domestic violence must also qualify based on the wording that applies to domestic situations. Any act of outright domestic violence, hitting, slapping, pinching, verbal abuse, all constitute a criminal act. However, the fine wording of the law as it regards to what does and does not constitute a domestic relationship defines the fine line between a plain criminal act, and an act of domestic violence that is a criminal act.

In this situation, the girl was a member of his household at the time of the rape and the rape was considered a domestic violence situation. It was only upon the divorce that the child was no longer protected by the jurisdiction of Family Court.

If you find yourself in a position that may be considered domestic violence or child neglect based on an incident of domestic violence, contact Steven Bilkis and Associates. At Steven Bilkis and Associates there are attorneys who are available to assist you, no matter what your case. Steven Bilkis and associates are qualified to handle any domestic violence needs.

Issues of law are constantly changing. A person who is not specifically trained in the law cannot begin to know what all of their rights are without the assistance of a professional. Here at Steven Bilkis and Associates, we provide New York Order of Protection Attorneys, New York Domestic Violence Lawyers, New York Assault Attorneys, and New York Criminal lawyers. New York Family Lawyers will stand by you and ensure that your rights are protected. New York Personal Injury Attorneys can argue your side and make sure that you and your loved ones are considered. We make sure that you are rightfully awarded compensation for your suffering.

Stephen Bilkis & Associates with its Domestic Violence Lawyers has convenient offices throughout the New York Metropolitan area including Corona, New York. Our Personal Injury Attorneys can provide you with advice to guide you through difficult situations. Without a Domestic Violence Lawyer you could lose precious compensation to help with your medical bills and the trauma to you and your loved ones following such a frightening experience. This is true even if the Attorney for the assailant has not adequately made their case. In addition to Personal Injury Law, Stephen Bilkis and Associates can recommend Criminal Lawyers who will protect your rights if you are ever arrested.

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