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Opening the Door

Discussion of a case involving a violation of the ban precluding an attorney from providing a copy of the forensic report to a client -- and what the subsequent ruling means to family law in New York,


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This Court ‘ shall, from this day forward, allow the parties themselves to read the [forensic evaluation] report, as well as the raw material. With this one sentence (qualified by conditions designed to prevent substantial prejudice to either party and to preserve the confidentiality of the most sensitive of personal information that provided to a forensic evaluator in a custody matter) the court in J.F.D. v. J.D., 2014 NY Slip Op. 51547 (Sup. Ct., Nassau Cty, 10/17/14), took a singular step forward, effectively announcing a new policy in its IAS Part with respect to custody matters ‘ this, despite the fact that the application prompting this new policy requested relief more narrow than that which was ultimately granted. (Acting Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey A. Goodstein recited in his decision that the relief sought by the husband was the release of the raw data and notes of the forensic evaluator so that his retained expert could review them for the purpose of preparing for cross-examination. The husband did not seek release of this underlying information to the parties.)

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