Matter of VanDunk v. Bonilla, 2021-04240

The parties have two children together.  In a prior custody proceeding, the Family Court, Rockland County, awarded joint legal custody to the parties and sole physical custody to the father.  In May 2020, the mother commenced this family offense proceeding seeking an order of protection against the father for herself and the children.  At a court appearance, the court determined that the mother had commenced this proceeding in an improper venue.  The court dismissed the mother’s family offense petition without prejudice.  The mother appealed.

The Second Department found that the Family Court erred in dismissing the petition.  “A family offense proceeding pursuant to Family Court Act article 8 ‘may be originated in the county in which the act or acts referred to in the petition allegedly occurred or in which the family or household resides or in which any party resides’ (id. § 818 [emphasis added]).”  Here, since the mother resides in Rockland County, the original venue was proper.

Even if the venue was improper, that would not have been a basis to dismiss the petition.  The Family Court Act does not provide for dismissal of a proceeding on the ground of improper or inconvenient venue (see Matter of Cruz v. Cruz, 48 AD3d 804, 805; Matter of Henry v. Skratt, 11 AD3d 691, 691-692).  The mother’s petition is reinstated, and the matter is remanded to the Family Court, Rockland County.


Matter of Green v. Palmer, 2021-04896

Here, the parties have a child together.  The father commenced this proceeding in October 2019 for a downward modification of his child support obligation.  Following a hearing, in an amended order, the Support Magistrate dismissed the petition without prejudice.  The father then filed objections to the Support Magistrate’s order.  The Family Court subsequently denied the father’s objections.  The father appealed.

The Second Department found that the Family Court correctly denied the father’s objections to the Support Magistrate’s order, since he did not establish a substantial change in circumstances warranting a modification (see Matter of Lopez v. Campoverde, 201 AD3d 719, 720; Matter of Oelsner v. Heppler, 181 AD3d 916, 917; Matter of Guevera v. Villatoro, 134 AD3d 1115).  The order is affirmed.