During the early stages of my legal career, I had the opportunity to work on a tragic case, Khan v. Rajput, which resulted in the unpublished appellate decision,

The case centered around my efforts to facilitate the return of two young children to their father, Mr. Khan, after their mother removed them from New Jersey to Pakistan, without his consent. Ms. Rajput, then a medical student in the US, escorted the children back to her homeland to live with her family. After several months, she returned to the US without the children in order to complete her schooling. Upon arrival, she was arrested at the airport but patently refused to return the children to their father. She was subsequently released from custody, and we instituted trial court proceedings to ensure the children’s swift return. However, Pakistan’s unwillingness to be a party to Hague Convention meant that unless the case became a national story that it would be an uphill battle to compel their return.

Continue Reading Child Abduction: Capital Anonymity. A True Story about the Hague Convention

I recently read a quote from Joseph Addison, an eighteenth century British author, which said, “Husband a lie, and trump it up in some extraordinary emergency.” It lead me to consider how family law attorneys categorize the notion of an emergency, often with a mixture of histrionics and hysteria, in contrast with how the rest of the world does.

In the world of family law, emergencies are governed almost exclusively by the filing of the well-conceived and ill-named Order to Show Cause. R. 4:52-1 of the New Jersey Court Rules governs the filing of an Order to Show Cause in most scenarios in Family Court, when we are seeking temporary restraints or injunctive relief. It addresses the standard for filing an emergent application, which we all know by heart by now is, that immediate and irreparable damage will probably result to a party or the parties’ child(ren), unless an Order is entered immediately.

As a former law clerk and current family law practitioner, I have a unique perspective on both the utilization and exploitation of the Order to Show Cause.  What was designed to ideally be filed judiciously and to address genuine emergencies is habitually used as a litigation tool to get our clients the instant gratification that they far too often seek. Fittingly enough, these applications filed to presumably accelerate a divorce proceeding often become the ultimate double-edged sword.

Continue Reading A Day That Will Live In Exigency: The (Over) Use Of the Order to Show Cause

The following blog has been written by Eliana Baer, an associate of the firm resident in our Princeton office.

In our increasingly mobile society, it is no surprise that the issue of international child abduction has emerged as one of the new “hot topics” in family law.  On May 17, 2010, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion in Abbott v. Abbott, involving different aspects of international abduction and custody. Sandra Fava, an associate in our Roseland office previously blogged about this case.

 

In Abbott, Timothy Abbott, a British citizen, and Jacquelyn Abbott, an American citizen, obtained a divorce in the Chilean courts.  Mrs. Abbott was awarded custody of their son, and Mr. Abbott was awarded visitation rights. At Mrs. Abbott’s request, the Chilean court entered an order prohibiting the child’s removal from Chile by either party without prior mutual consent. When about one year later, Mrs. Abbott removed the child to Texas without Mr. Abbott’s consent, Mr. Abbott filed suit in the Federal District Court in Texas, seeking an order requiring his son’s return to Chile under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Chile and the United States are signatories to the Hangue Convention). The district court held that the child’s removal did not constitute a breach of the father’s "rights of custody" as defined by the Hague convention. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed and an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Rules on the Issue of International Child Custody

Nearly everyone I know from the state of New Jersey has heard about the horrific battle Sean Goldman faced trying to have his biological son returned from Brazil where he was being cared for by his step-father after the unexpected death of his mother.  Recently, at the end of December he was finally reunited with his son, seemingly only after the case caught nation and worldwide media attention.  What some people may not know or fail to realize is that there are Sean Goldman’s all over this country.  Parents from New Jersey and other states are faced in a similar battle trying to have their children returned to them from foreign nations.

One such case is the matter of Abbott v. Abbott scheduled for oral argument before the United States Supreme Court on January 12, 2010.  The Abbotts were married in England and later had a child in Hawaii.  They moved to Chile where they separated in 2002 and were later divorced.  The Chilean court granted the mother custody and father visitation rights.  In 2004, at the mother’s request, the Chilean court issued a ne exeat order prohibiting either parent from removing the child from Chile without mutual consent of the other.

Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Case on International Child Abduction & The Hague Convention