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H.V.D.M. v. R.W.

New Jersey Appellate Division

February 1, 2021

In H.V.D.M. v. R.W., the Appellate Division dealt with an appeal from the Chancery Division where the lower court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint wherein she sought sole custody of a minor who had been removed from her parents’ custody in Canada to move in with the plaintiff — a relative — in New Jersey. The case turned on the juvenile’s Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, a rare system that requires state-court action before a federal court can determine the person’s immigration status. The Chancery Court held that it lacked jurisdiction to handle the case because the custody order was a Canadian order, even though the New Jersey court had the power to enforce it. The Appellate Division reversed and held that “pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:34-77(b), [the Chancery Court] has the power to use any enforcement remedies available under state law to aid in the enforcement of the” Canadian order. Because the Chancery Court had that power, the Appellate Division held that it had jurisdiction.

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