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UNDERSTANDING ALTERNATE METHODS OF INTERNATIONAL PROCESS SERVICE

By: Akanksha A. Panicker

Service of process abroad always means a menu of choices, each of which comes with trade-offs of costs, certainty, and punctuality.   No universal method of service can be achieved in these cases, and research must be done to determine the most efficacious method of service in this particular case. 

In this regard, issues of timing almost always come up in terms of service of process abroad.  Even in domestic cases, timing is the main facet of litigation strategy. Since service of process abroad takes longer than service in the state, the time taken to serve the documents turns determinative in a foreign jurisdiction, particularly where the statute of limitations may expire. 

Even if the statute of limitations isn’t an issue, the speed of the method of service is paramount. Often, process service is the fastest means of executing service, if permitted. This is followed by service through the Hague Service Convention Central Authority and mail service (questionable since this might be more unpredictable as some countries do not permit service by mail, and even if they do, require a return receipt.) Letters rogatory take the longest time and is generally considered to be the slowest method of service. 

UNDERSTANDING SERVICE OF PROCESS ABROAD

By: Akanksha A. Panicker

Service of process is essential for any case to move forward. Untimely or ineffective service of process effectively shuts down a case immediately, and ‘without proper service of process, consent, waiver, or forfeiture, a court may not exercise personal jurisdiction over a named defendant.” 

The provision of legal papers to other parties in a case is known as service, and this commences a case. It must be noted here that while service of papers is usually done in person, service of subsequent papers may be done through First Class Mail (pursuant to judges order or agreement made between parties). Adhering to the rules of service of process essentially gives notice of the existence of the case and effectuates the court’s jurisdiction over a person. 

RENT REGULATION IN NEW YORK CITY

By: Akanksha A. Panicker

An apartment’s unique history determines its legal rent rather than the individual’s ability to pay. This means that tenants in identical apartments may pay exceedingly disparate rent, more so if there is a differentiation between newer tenants and long-term tenants. 

Rent control in New York is a means of limiting the amount of rent charged on dwellings. Rent control and rent stabilization are two programs used in parts of New York State (and other jurisdictions). In addition to controlling rent, the system also prescribes rights and obligations for tenants and landlords.

HOW TO END A MARRIAGE: ANNULMENT AS AN OPTION

By: Akanksha A. Panicker

It’s always difficult to end a marriage, and sometimes divorce seems like it’s insurmountable. There are multiple ways to end a marriage, however, including annulment and legal separation. This article will explore the nature of annulment as an option to end a marriage.

[1.1] WHAT IS ANNULMENT

An annulment or a declaration of nullity basically says that the marriage was invalidly contracted and is thus treated as though it never occurred. An annulment can only be granted if the marriage was invalid in the first place. Essentially, the marriage vanishes retroactively, as if they had never been married.

Unlike popular belief, an annulment cannot be granted for a marriage that has yet to be consummated or for a marriage that has lasted for a short time alone. However, an annulment can be granted if one spouse is physically incapable of having sexual relations. When the court does pronounce an annulment, it issues an order of dissolution that divides your property and addresses issues such as child support and child custody.

TYPES OF ORDERS OF PROTECTION AND WHAT EACH ONE DOES

By: Akanksha A. Panicker

As mentioned in the earlier article, an Order of Protection is merely a document issued by the court to limit the harmful or threatening behavior of a person to another. It is used to address safety issues, including domestic violence.

Orders of Protection may be full or limited. This means that an individual can get a temporary Order of Protection, which will be issued on the day of filing for the order by the complainant and lasts till the next court date [although it may be subject to extension] or may get a final Order of Protection. A final Order of Protection is issued upon the conviction of the individual by plea or after a trial and required that the judge find the offense committed

It must be kept in mind that the degrees of protection afforded to an individual will vary across cases. One might be awarded a full Order of Protection, wherein the perpetrator is forced to stay completely away from the individual and their home, or a limited Order of Protection may be given where the subject is allowed to maintain highly restricted contact with the victim.  One can get an Order of Protection from a Family Court, a court that hears criminal cases, and a Supreme Court.

WHY HAVE AN ORDER OF PROTECTION?

By: Akanksha A. Panicker

Domestic violence, or family violence, is violent, abusive, or intimidating behavior in a relationship. There are many types of domestic violence, including emotional, sexual, social, financial, spiritual, and physical abuse. For violence to be ‘domestic’, it doesn’t have to occur within the home, only within a relationship (with a family member or an intimate partner). It occurs when the abuser has power and control over the individual. This control or abuse can be expressed in different ways.

Why order of protection?

An order of protection is issued by the court to limit the behavior of someone who harms or threatens to harm another person. It is used to address various types of safety issues, including, but not limited to situations involving domestic violence New York State Unified Court System. (n.d.). Obtaining An Order of Protection. Retrieved August 30, 2020, from https://www.nycourts.gov/faq/orderofprotection.shtml

PATERNITY QUESTIONS: HOW TO NAVIGATE LEGAL FATHERHOOD

By: Akanksha A. Panicker

[1.1] EXPLAINING A PATERNITY CASE

It’s easy enough to identify a child’s birth mother, but what about paternity? A child born to parents not married to each other is considered not to have a legal father, unless the biological father signs an ‘Acknowledgement of Paternity.’ This is usually done at the hospital at the time of the child’s birth. 

So, what exactly happens? 

Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) is a legal process through which paternity, or legal fatherhood, can be established. The father declares himself to be the child’s father, entering an ‘Order of Filiation’ which essentially is a court order declaring legal parenthood. A petition can be filed in Family Court seeking the same. 

Paternity establishment ultimately is just the process of determining the legal father of a child. In New York, unmarried parents can establish paternity by [A.] signing a voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form; or [B.]by petitioning a court to determine paternity. The Acknowledgement of Paternity form is available from hospitals, local district child support offices, and local birth registrars.

UNDERSTANDING AN AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE

By: Akanksha A. Panicker

Service of process essentially occurs when the party to a lawsuit notifies the other party as to the beginning of legal proceedings. This is done when appropriate notice of initial legal action as ordered by a court or a tribunal is sent to the party so that jurisdiction is exercised and the person has to respond to the proceeding before the court. The ‘process’ part of ‘service of process’ refers to the set of documents that is to be delivered, allowing for notice to be furnished.

Different jurisdictions mean different rules for an appropriate service of process. However, a summons and other related documents must be served upon the defendant personally. Sometimes, this might be relaxed, and service may be provided upon another person of suitable age and discretion at the person’s residence or place of business or employment. Service of process through the mail or through procedural rules and court order may be authorized. A prime example of the same is service by publication, done when an individual cannot be located in a particular jurisdiction. It must be understood that proper service of process establishes personal jurisdiction of the court on the individual served. Failure to participate by means that the person is in default, and relief may be granted to the petitioner.  Service of process in cases filed in the United States District Courts is governed by Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

BREAKING DOWN A SKIP TRACE SERVICE

By: Akanksha A. Panicker

Finding a person is a very difficult task, made only more difficult when they need to be served. When a plaintiff brings a lawsuit against a defendant, the law requires the defendant to be served a notice of the court action. This is done so that the defendant has enough time to prepare a defense, and is an important part of due process.

However, what happens when the person being served is extraordinarily hard to locate?

Skip tracing comes in. Skip tracing essentially boils down to locating a person’s whereabouts, the word itself coming from the idiomatic expression ‘to skip town’ [to depart in a haste] and to ‘trace’ the path that they might have taken.  Skip tracing tactics may be employed by a skip tracer, contact tracer, debt collector, process server, bail bondsman or bail agency enforcer [bounty hunters], repossession agent, private investigator, lawyer, police detective, journalist, or by any person attempting to locate a subject whose contact information is not immediately known. Similar techniques have also been used by investigators to locate witnesses in criminal trials.