Today's post provides summaries for recent family law court decisions.
* T.V. (Anonymous), et al., Appellants v. New York State Department of Health - a surrogate case
* V.P v. C.P. - a maintenance case
* Dickerson v. Thompson - a dissolution of a civil union case
T.V. (Anonymous), et al., Appellants v. New York State Department of Health
August 09, 2011
Biological parents whose children are delivered by a surrogate are entitled to be the legal parents without an adoption provided especially in cases where there was a contract with the surrogate mother declaring the biological mother would be recognized as the child's mother.
"On this appeal, we are asked to determine whether a complaint which seeks a judgment (a) declaring that a genetic mother is the legal mother of a child born to a gestational carrier under a surrogate parenting contract is entitled to be named as the child's legal mother on the child's birth certificate, without requiring a formal adoption proceeding, and (b) declaring Family Court Act §§517 and 542 and Domestic Relations Law article 8 to be unconstitutional, states cognizable causes of action. For the reasons set forth below, we hold that the plaintiffs stated viable causes of action for the relief sought. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is denied his Motion To Dismiss."
V.P. v C.P.
August 8, 2011
A former husband requesting monthly maintenance be lowered because of changes in his financial circumstances was denied. The husband stated his financial circumstances had been reduced due to difficulties earning money due to old age and an exhaustion of a fund provided to him by family that had previously been used to pay maintenance. The husband had to show extreme financial hardship that would bring him below the poverty line if he were to pay the maintenance ordered. This case is important for others in similar situations who are requesting or defending against changes in maintenance.
"After a careful reading of the submissions herein, the Court rejects the report of the Special Referee to the extent that it found that the husband had established 'a change of circumstances' to warrant the reduction of maintenance from $2,400.00 per month to $2,000.00 per month. The court also rejects the husband's post-hearing documentary submissions allegedly demonstrating that he has depleted his father's funds and that no checks have been written from said accounts since March 2010. Such evidence is dehors the record and could have been presented at the time of the hearing but was not. The court finds the further contentions of the husband to be without merit."
Dickerson v. Thompson
July 21, 2011
A couple that had entered a civil union in Vermont were asking the New York Court for dissolution of their civil union since they did not meet the residency requirements in Vermont. The court was sympathetic to the fact there was violence in this relationship which favored dissolution and granted the dissolution.
"We disagree with Supreme Court's conclusion that, in the absence of any legislatively created mechanism in New York by which a court could grant the dissolution of a civil union entered into in another state, it was powerless to grant the requested relief. While plaintiff lacks a remedy at law, the dissolution of a civil union falls squarely within the scope of Supreme Court's broad equity jurisdiction."