The Fourth Department, reversing Family Court, found that a hearing is necessary in this custody proceeding to determine whether New York had jurisdiction after the child spent four or five months in North Carolina:
Petitioner mother appeals from an order that dismissed for lack of jurisdiction her petition for custody of the subject child. Domestic Relations Law § 76 (1) (a) provides in relevant part that a New York court has jurisdiction to make an initial custody determination if New York “is the home state of the child on the date of the commencement of the proceeding, or was the home state of the child within six months before the commencement of the proceeding and the child is absent from this state but a parent . . . continues to live in this state . . . .” ” Home state’ means the state in which a child lived with a parent . . . for at least six consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding” (§ 75-a ). A period of temporary absence during the six-month time frame is considered part of the time period to establish home-state residency … . Moreover, if “a parent wrongfully removes a child from a state, the time following the removal is considered a temporary absence” … .
We conclude that Family Court erred in dismissing the petition based on lack of jurisdiction without holding a hearing. Here, there are disputed issues of fact whether the child’s four- or five-month stay in North Carolina constituted a temporary absence from New York State in light of allegations that respondent father withheld the child from the mother for purposes of establishing a “home state” in North Carolina … and whether the mother’s absence from New York State interrupted the child’s six-month pre-petition residency period required by Domestic Relations Law § 76 (1) (a) … . Matter of Dean v Sherron, 2018 NY Slip Op 08807, Fourth Dept 12-21-18