Over 30 years of experience in divorce & family law


H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York divorce and family law attorney with over 34 years of experience suggests that any witness to a family offense must be prepared and available to testify in Court or that witness’ statement will not be admissible in the proceeding.blog

In a recent case decided by the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, the Court dismissed a case seeking an Order of Protection where a child’s hearsay testimony was offered as proof. Hearsay is an out-of-Court statement made by a witness who is not available to testify in person and that out-of-Court statement is offered for the truth of the matter asserted. While a child’s hearsay statements can be used in abuse, neglect and custody proceedings in New York, the Court held that the statute precluded the use of hearsay as admissible proof. This is especially troublesome as the child would be forced to testify in Court and be exposed to cross-examination by the accused party’s attorney. A child witness who is forced to testify about a violent event can have deleterious consequences to the child. In my experience, jurists have discouraged bringing a child in to testify against a parent or relative.

Accordingly, unless there is an apparent and easily provable exception to the hearsay rule or, there is no hesitancy in using a child as a witness (as in the case of an adult child), a New York Family Offense case should avoid hearsay evidence of any kind as it is inadmissible.

I have been litigating family offense cases for more than three decades. Recent results for my clients can be found within the TESTIMONIALS page on this website. Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island matrimonial practice over the past 34 years.

Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq. a divorce lawyer in Nassau County, if you are interested in a Free Consultation to discuss your matrimonial, divorce, order of protection, support, custody, visitation or family law matter at hmsternesq@gmail.com or by phone at 516-747-2290.

My Nassau County office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall Ring Road at 666 Old Country Road, Suite 555, in Garden City, New York.

I am currently conducting consultations in office, by phone or video conference.

Written by: H. Michael Stern, Divorce Lawyer in Nassau County

The above offers general information for educational purposes. It does not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. This is attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.