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August 2014 Archives

Case Law Review for the Week of August 4, 2014

K.A.F. v. D.L.M./D.L.M. v. K.A.F. & F.D., Appellate Division, Published Decision, August 6, 2014: This appeal presents interesting questions of law resulting from a unique set of facts. K.A.F. was the biological mother of the child. F.D. was the adoptive parent of the child and the former domestic partner of K.A.F. K.A.F. and D.M. , subsequent to the dissolution of the domestic partnership between K.A.F. and F.D., entered into a domestic partnership, which gave rise to D.M.'s claim of a psychological parent relationship existing.

Case Law Review for the Week of July 28, 2014

R.K. v. F.K., Appellative Division, Published Decision, July 28, 2014: In this Appellate Division decision, which was approved for publication, the father appealed from the Judgment of Divorce entered by the trial court claiming an error in utilizing the change in circumstances standard in determining custody and for applying the presumption with regard to custody under the Domestic Violence Act. The Appellate Division agreed with the appellant, vacating the trial court's decision and remanding the matter. First, the Appellate Court noted that the trial court had erred in relying upon the failure on the part of the father to prove a chance in circumstances as the basis for adhering to the custody determination made at the time the FRO was entered. As the Appellate Court explained, a modification as to custody requires a two-step inquiry, wherein the first step is making a prima facie showing of changed circumstances and, upon meeting this burden, the second step is engaging in the appropriate best interests' analysis. As such, once a prima facie showing of changed circumstances is made, the change of circumstances inquiry is inapplicable, as the "change of circumstances standard serves to determine whether a trial should be held, not to determine the result of that trial."