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DecisionsFinding of derivative abuse reversed

July 2, 2020

Two points of interest in this case – Matter of Ayanna P. (Darryl B.).

(1) The appellate court upheld that it was proper for the trial judge to take a negative inference from the respondent’s failure to testify, notwithstanding the pending criminal case against him.

(2) The appellate court reversed a derivative finding of abuse as to the respondent’s son Prince. The sexual abuse finding was made as to the grandchild Ayanna and derivative findings entered as to three other children. However, the appellate court reasoned that (a) Prince is situated so differently that the conduct toward the grandchild is insufficient to demonstrate that Prince is at risk of harm, and (b) that there was no evidence the sexual abuse was directed at the son, or that he was aware of the abuse, or otherwise at risk of harm.

“Situated so differently” is an interesting turn of phrase. I would be curious to see the underlying briefs. I suspect that this refers to an age disparity (perhaps Prince is something like 17 years old) or perhaps he resides elsewhere and there is really no longer a functional relationship.

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About the author:

Founder and Principal Attorney at the Law Office of Bryan Greenberg LLC, Middlesex County, NJ. With an unwavering commitment to guiding individuals through the complex and emotional landscape of divorce and family law matters, Bryan stands as the founding attorney of Law Office of Bryan Greenberg. Backed by years of legal expertise and a deep understanding of Middlesex County's legal landscape, Bryan is dedicated to offering compassionate yet pragmatic solutions to every client's unique situation. Through insightful blog posts, Bryan shares valuable insights, tips, and advice on navigating the challenges of divorce and family law, helping individuals make informed decisions during these critical life transitions. For comprehensive legal guidance and empathetic support, turn to Bryan Greenberg and the team at the Law Office of Bryan Greenberg.

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