Firm Appellate Court Victory Paves the Way for Greater Access to Protective Orders in the State of New York

In Monaco v. Monaco, 116 A.D.3d 452, 984 N.Y.S.2d 311 (1st Dep’t 2014), the Law Office of Yonatan Levoritz won a significant victory when a New York State appellate court affirmed a trial court order granting the firm’s client a hearing on her request for a protective order. This ruling had implications beyond the Monaco case, as New York State courts had previously required any individual who requested a protective order “to establish that the defendant engaged in conduct which constituted a family offense within the meaning of the Family Court Act,” Fakiris v. Fakiris, 177 A.D.2d 540, 544, 575 N.Y.S.2d 924 (2d Dep’t 1991). The ruling in the Monaco case implies that the New York Supreme Court (which is the trial-level court of general jurisdiction in New York State) is not bound by the Family Court Act and can instead find cause for a protective order even when an individual does not have evidence of an absolute violation of the Family Court Act. This has the potential to make protective orders more broadly available than they previously were in the state of New York.

Beyond affirming the trial court’s granting the motion for the protective order, the appellate court declined for the time being to disturb the custody agreement between the two parties. The Monacos had several disagreements over the education and extracurricular activities of their children, and Ms. Monaco informed the court that her ex-husband had to that point refused to satisfy his obligation to provide financial support for various medical bills of the children. Both the trial and appellate court declined to become involved in these matters at the moment and instead instructed the parties to refer first to their settlement agreement, which set forth a procedure for resolving certain disputes.

The complexity of the Monaco case illustrates the need for an experienced, competent attorney when it comes to family law matters. If you or someone you know needs assistance with divorce, custody, domestic violence, or other family law issues, contact the Law Office of Yonatan Levoritz for a consultation.