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Family Court May Retroactively Set Aside a Neglect Finding

An empty courtroom

The Appellate Division of the First Department, an Appels Court, heard an appeal brought by (“ACS”). ACS had appealed a decision of the Supreme Court made on November 16, 2015 which granted a mother’s retroactive suspension of an ACS Family Court Order dated October 15, 2014. This Family Court Order and Judgment had been a finding of child neglect.

Judgment Impacted Negatively on Mother’s Employment

The mother had brought this proceeding to retroactively set aside the 2014 judgment because it interfered with the mother’s employment opportunities. The mother worked with children and as a result of this decision had difficulty finding employment.

The Appeals Court ruled the Family Court Act permitted retroactive suspensions of judgments. In this case, the Appeals Court denied ACS’s appeal which sought to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision retroactively suspending the judgment and finding of neglect on behalf of the mother. The Appeals Court in its decision stated the Family Court retained jurisdiction to consider a motion by any party to enforce, modify or vacate Attorney Elliot Schlissela final order or dispositional order at any time upon a proper factual showing of compliance or noncompliance with the order’s terms, conditions and a showing of good cause.

In this case the Appeals Court found that the setting aside of the earlier neglect finding against the mother did not elevate the mother’s interests above those of the children.

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