The Second Department, reversing Family Court, determined Family Court should not have found New York did not have jurisdiction over this custody dispute without holding a hearing pursuant to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). The issue is whether New York or Yemen was the children’s home state:
Pursuant to Domestic Relations Law § 70, “[w]here a minor child is residing within this state, either parent may apply to the supreme court for a writ of habeas corpus to have such minor child brought before such court; and on the return thereof, the court, on due consideration, may award . . . custody of such child to either parent.” Here, since the children reside outside of this State, reference must necessarily be made to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (Domestic Relations Law art 5-A; hereinafter UCCJEA), which provides, inter alia, that “a court of this state has jurisdiction to make an initial child custody determination only if: (a) this state 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 or person acting as a parent continues to live in this state” (Domestic Relations Law § 76[a] …). The UCCJEA defines “home state” as “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” (Domestic Relations Law § 75-a).
Here, the Family Court was required to hold a hearing as to the issue of whether New York or Yemen was the children’s home state, as there are disputed issues of fact regarding the circumstances under which the parties moved with the children from New York to Yemen … . Matter of Kassim v Al-Maliki, 2021 NY Slip Op 02800, Second Dept 5-5-21