Monday, December 15, 2014

Petitioner & Attorney didn't show for a final conference on their petition. Should Judge have dismissed?

Question: I am appearing in a family court proceeding regarding modifying a visitation order. The Petitioner and his Attorney did not show up for a "final conference", yet I (respondent) and the Attorney for the child did show. We were all made aware of the conference date and time and had been given deadlines to submit documents prior to the final conference. All were submitted. The Judge did not dismiss the Petition and instead said he will be scheduling a hearing. Why was this Petition not dismissed when he and his attorney did not show for the conference on their own petition? Thank you.

David's Answer: Not sure, as only Judge would know for sure. If I had to guess, it's possible that either the Judge felt the petition had enough merit that a 1-time "no-show" should result in dismissal, and/or because petitioner otherwise had a good attendance record. Sometimes Judges don't wish to face the inevitable "motion to vacate a default" and thus give a non-appearing party 1 final opportunity to appear. -- David Bliven, Westchester Family attorney (

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