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Pro Bono Appeals Program Announced Two Decisions

By Cynthia Feathers, Esq.

The Pro Bono Appeals Program had decisions in two appeals recently.  In Matter of Bowman v. Bowman, the Third Department reversed a finding by Saratoga County Family Court that it had no subject matter jurisdiction over a petition to modify a Washington state child support order.  In finding that the mother, who resides in Corinth, NY, could initiate the action here against the father, who resides in California, the appeals court made new law.  For the first time, a New York court found that the federal Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act preempted an inconsistent provision in New York’s Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.  Since the appellate victory, the mother has returned to Family Court and nearly tripled the support she receives for her child, who was diagnosed with a progressive, terminal, neurological condition.  The story was recently featured on WNYT Channel 13.  The pro bono appellate attorney for the mother was Cynthia Feathers.

In Matter of Jennifer G. v. Benjamin H. (May 5, 2011), the Third Department upheld part and reversed part of the rulings by the Family Court of Columbia County brought under Family Court Act Articles 6 and 8.  The pro bono appellate attorneys for the mother were Nomi Berenson and Valerie Koffman of Goodwin & Proctor in New York City. 

Bowman and Jennifer G. were just two of several appeals handled by the Pro Bono Appeals Program, a joint collaboration of NYSBA’s Committee on Courts of Appellate Jurisdiction, The Legal Project in Albany, and the Rural Law Center of New York in Plattsburgh.  The Program, which currently focuses on family law appeals in the Third Department, has received financial support from The New York Bar Foundation.  For more information regarding the Pro Bono Appeals Program, go to www.legalproject.org/pro_bono_appeals.html or www.rurallawcenter.org/probonoappeals.


November 2014 NEWSLETTER

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