Saturday, March 15, 2014

My child has special needs can that trump a jurisdiction decision ? Ny offers programs for special needs that FL does not.

Q:  My son attended preK in Florida for over 6 months. He is 5 & doesn't quality for kindergarten in FL for another year due to age cut off. He has been in NYC kindergarten for 5 months now & has a disability classification as SPEECH AND LANGUAGE IMPAIRED and is in INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PROGRAM receiving 5 special services a week Physical therapy 2 x's a week & speech therapy 3 x's a week cause he was determined to be "severely behind" Fl does not offer these services. If I go back to FI i have to pay for all these services out of pocket which I can't afford. NY dept of ed pays for all of these services & even assigned a TEAM of teachers to address his needs.
Can these special services trump jurisdiction that his father in FL is winning? Can special needs keep my son in NY?

A:  David's Answer:  I'm not sure I understand your question: are you saying you have a pending child custody case in Florida & a decision has already been made that Florida has jurisdiction? Or that the Florida court is merely considering whether to retain jurisdiction or not? In any event, the relative merits of your case - or "best interests of the child" - would not affect the "home state jurisdiction" analysis. If there is no home state of the child, then the Judge may consider such facts - I stress may because if the case is pending in FL, same is dependent on FL law. Schedule a consult with a Child Custody lawyer.   -- David Bliven, Bronx Child Custody attorney (

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