New York Matrimonial Trial Handbook

The New York Matrimonial Trial Handbook by Joel R. Brandes is available online in the print edition at the Bookbaby Bookstore and other bookstores. It is now available in Kindle ebook editions and epub ebook editions in our website bookstore. It is also available at Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble and Goodreads.

The New York Matrimonial Trial Handbook was reviewed in the New York Law Journal. Click here to read the review.

The New York Matrimonial Trial Handbook was also reviewed in Readers Favorite Book Reviews. Click here for that review.

The New York Matrimonial Trial Handbook was written for both the attorney who has never tried a matrimonial action and for the experienced litigator. It is a “how to” book for lawyers. This 836 page handbook focuses on the procedural and substantive law, as well as the law of evidence, that an attorney must have at his or her fingertips when trying a matrimonial action. It is intended to be an aid for preparing for a trial and as a reference for the procedure in offering and objecting to evidence during a trial. The handbook deals extensively with the testimonial and documentary evidence necessary to meet the burden of proof. There are thousands of suggested questions for the examination of witnesses at trial to establish each cause of action and requests for ancillary relief, as well as for the cross-examination of difficult witnesses. Table of Contents

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Reyes v Jeffcoat, 2012 WL 4009641 (D.S.C.) [Venezuela] [Federal & State Judicial Remedies] [Evidence]


In Reyes v Jeffcoat, 2012 WL 4009641 (D.S.C.) Maritza Meszaros Reyes, filed a petition seeking a declaration that respondent, Harry Lee Langford Jeffcoat,
had wrongfully retained the parties' two minor children in the United States and that
Venezuela, not the United States, was the "habitual residence" of the children pursuant to the Hague Convention. In an order dated June 27, 2012, the court disagreed with the petitioner, determining that the respondent had not wrongfully retained the children and that the United States was the habitual residence of the children involved in this case.

After the court rendered its decision adversely to the petitioner, the petitioner filed a
motion to alter or amend the judgment on the ground that the court had neglected to rule upon one set of evidentiary submissions advanced by the petitioner during her case-in-chief. The court now made an order memorializing the court's ruling on the
disputed evidence.

Near the end of her case-in-chief, the petitioner offered "the amended verified
petition" in evidence. Respondent objected, arguing that "it contains hearsay within hearsay." Petitioner's counsel argued that "under the Hague Convention and under ICARA, the petition and the attachments were admissible." Respondent argued that the Hague Convention merely provides for a waiver of all authentication requirements but does not render documents admissible, without further inquiry simply because they are attached to the petition filed under the Hague Convention. The Court rejected the Petitioner’s argument and held that in any event, had the evidence been admitted, it would not have affected this court's ultimate conclusion in the case.

The Court concluded that respondent was correct as to the legal matter presented. ICARA provides that documents attached to the Hague Convention petition need not be authenticated, but it does not indicate that all such documents are therefore automatically admissible. And, while it could be argued that the emails between the parties would be admissible in any event either as an admission by a party opponent or a hearsay statement admissible under the state of mind exception of Rule 803(3), there were other portions of the email that contained hearsay within hearsay, and the court was not aware of any authority that would admit these second level hearsay statements. Accordingly, the respondent's objection to the documents attached to the verified amended petition was sustained.