New York Matrimonial Trial Handbook

The New York Matrimonial Trial Handbook by Joel R. Brandes is available in Bookstores and online in the print edition at the Bookbaby Bookstore, Amazon Barnes & Noble, Goodreads and other online book sellers. It is also available in Kindle ebook editions and epub ebook editions for all ebook readers in our website bookstore. The New York Matrimonial Trial Handbook is divided into five parts: (1) Preliminary Matters Prior to the Commencement of Trial, Conduct of Trial and Rules of Evidence Particularly Applicable in Matrimonial Matters; (2); Establishing Grounds for Divorce, Separation and Annulment and Defenses; (3) Obtaining Maintenance, Child Support, Exclusive Occupancy and Counsel Fees; (4) Property Distribution and Evidence of Value; and (5) Trial of a Custody Case. There are thousands of suggested questions for the examination and cross-examination of witnesses dealing with very aspect of the matrimonial trial. Click on this link for more information about the contents of the book and on this link for the complete table of contents.

The New York Matrimonial Trial Handbook was reviewed by Bernard Dworkin, Esq., in the New York Law Journal on December 21, 2017. His review is reprinted on our website at with the permission of the New York Law Journal.

Joel R. Brandes, is the author of Law and The Family New York, 2d (9 volumes) (Thomson Reuters), and Law and the Family New York Forms (5 volumes) (Thomson Reuters). Law and the Family New York, 2d is a treatise and a procedural guide. Volume 4A of the treatise contains more than 950 pages devoted to an analysis of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act. It contains a complete discussion of the cases construing the Convention which have been decided by the United States Supreme Court, the Circuit Courts of Appeal, the District Courts, and the New York Courts.

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Alcala v Hernandez, 2016 WL 3343251 (4th Cir.,2016)[Mexico] [Petition dismissed] [Now Settled]

     In Alcala v Hernandez, 2016 WL 3343251 (4th Cir.,2016) in June 2013, Appellee Claudia Garcia Hernandez (Mother) removed her two minor children from their home in Mexico and arrived in South Carolina in August 2013. In October 2014, the children’s biological father, Appellant Fernando Contreras Alcala (Father), petitioned for return of the children to Mexico. The district court found that Mother’s removal of the children was wrongful, but that the children were now settled in their new environment and declined to order the children returned. The Fourth Circuit affirmed.  It noted that Article 12 states that where appropriate proceedings are not commenced within one year of a child being wrongfully removed, a court shall nevertheless order return “unless it is demonstrated that the child is now settled in its new environment.” In a case of first impression in this Circuit the Court found that the reasoning of the Second Circuit in Lozano v. Alvarez, 697 F.3d 41, 56 (2d Cir. 2012), aff’d in part sub nom. Lozano v. Montoya Alvarez, 134 S. Ct. 1224 (2014) was consisted with its reasoning and agreed that for a child to be settled within the meaning of the Convention, the child must have significant connections demonstrating a secure, stable, and permanent life in his or her new environment. Insofar as relevant facts to be considered, it held that courts should consider any relevant circumstance that demonstrates security, stability, or permanence—or the lack thereof—in a child’s new environment. Such a totality-of-the-circumstances analysis . It observed that  the district court here looked to the factors articulated by the Second Circuit in Lozano: (1) the age of the child; (2) the stability of the child’s residence in the new environment; (3) whether the child attends school or day care consistently; (4) whether the child attends church [or participates in other community or extracurricular school activities] regularly; (5) the respondent’s employment and financial stability; (6) whether the child has friends and relatives in the new area; and (7) the immigration status of the child and the respondent. The district court correctly recognized that such factors are non-exhaustive, and in a particular case some of these considerations may not apply and additional considerations may be relevant. While it agreed that the use of such factors may be helpful in guiding factual development and analysis, their use should not obscure the ultimate purpose of the court’s inquiry, which is a holistic determination of whether a child has significant connections demonstrating a secure, stable, and permanent life in his or her new environment.

    The Fifth Circuit also observed that under the Convention Courts have discretion to order the return of the child at any time. However, the Convention provides no explicit guidance as to when a court should exercise such discretion. It noted that the discretion to order return is grounded in principles of equity and it was not persuaded that equitable considerations warranted ordering the Son’s return.