Callie Thornton
NYS appellate court agrees with dad's petition to halt adoption proceedings without his permission
March 30, 6:01 AM Albany CPS and Family Court Examiner Daniel Weaver 

The Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department in the Matter of Nicole J. has reversed an order by Monroe County Family Court Judge, John J. Rivoli, which dispensed with the consent of Nicole's biological father and allowed her adoption to go forward.

The father's attorney made his first appearance in Monroe County Family Court on December 1, 2008 on behalf of the father, only to be told that a hearing would be held the next day. He requested an adjournment until January 12, 2009 because he wa unaware that a hearing was scheduled for the next day. The judge denied his request and proceeded with the hearing.

In reversing Judge Rivoli's order, the appellate court said that the family court abused its discretion in denying the request for adjournment. The court went on to state:

"There is no evidence in the record that the father had notice that the hearing was scheduled to occur on December 1, 2008. Moreover, the record establishes that the proceedings were not protracted, that this was the father's first request for an adjournment and, indeed, that the court had adjourned proceedings concerning the child's biological mother to the precise adjournment date sought by the father. Under these circumstances, we conclude that the court should have granted the request of the father's attorney for an adjournment to enable the father to prepare for the hearing (see generally Matter of Stephen L., 2 AD3d 1229, 1231). We therefore reverse the order and remit the matter to Family Court for a new hearing."
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