Appellate Division, Fourth Department
Adoption of Nicole J.
Appealed from Monroe County Court
Background: In a proceeding to adopt a child, the biological father was served with adoption papers but did not appear in court. On the first court date, the father’s attorney appeared and was told a hearing would be conducted that day. The attorney was unaware that a hearing was scheduled and his request for an adjournment was denied.
Ruling: The order of adoption is reversed and the case is remitted for a new hearing. There is no evidence that the father had notice that the hearing was scheduled for the initial court date. The proceedings were not protracted and this was the first request for an adjournment. The judge should have granted an adjournment to allow the father’s attorney to prepare for the hearing.
Annemarie Dils for the appellant, and Gary Muldoon for the respondents