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December 6, 2018
Associates Elena Rizzo and Hyuna Yong Successfully Reverse Lower Court’s Decision Before the Appellate Division, First Department


New York-based associates Elena Rizzo and Hyuna Yong, under the supervision of partner Turner Smith, successfully represented a domestically abused client at the request of Sanctuary for Families. Ms. Rizzo and Ms. Yong briefed the appeal in the matter Juliette S. v. Tykym S., and Ms. Rizzo argued before the First Department.  At issue on the appeal was a procedural error by the trial court amounting to a fundamental violation of due process.  The Appellate Division holding not only reversed the error, but also established an invaluable precedent for future cases in which a parent’s abusive conduct is asserted as grounds for modifying previously agreed rights of custody and visitation.

Rebecca Moy of Sanctuary for Families stated,  “The woman represented had been physically and emotionally abused by her husband for several years. After a first appearance on a modification of custody, the abusive husband was able to have the client’s modification dismissed without an evidentiary hearing.  The outcome of this case will have far reaching implications for Sanctuary for Families clients and other victims of abuse.  It requires that Family Courts allow the parent to be fully heard on the changes in circumstances before dismissing a petition for modification of custody.”

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