By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
(© 2017 Journal GlobaLinks)
CHICAGO (JGL) — World Champion Chicago Cubs shortstop Filipino American Addison Russell may not be playing baseball as he is
recovering from a right foot strain but he is busy thinking how he can gain “home-court advantage” in another arena — the Circuit Court of Escambia County in his residential and native Florida, where he filed a Dissolution of Marriage against his wife, Melisa Reidy-Margallo Russell.
Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) that took effect in 1997 across the nation, a state gains exclusive and continuing jurisdiction if it is the home state of the child when the custody action starts; or — if the child is no longer in the state – it was the child’s home state within six months before the action started and at least one parent continues to live in the state.
In his UCCCJEA Affidavit supporting his motion to dismiss the Petition of Dissolution of Marriage filed by Melisa, one of his lawyers, Michael Doyen, of the Doyen Law Group of Elgin, Illinois before Cook County Court Judge Grace G. Dickler in Chicago, Illinois, Mr. Russell said his less-than-two year-old son’s “residence for the past five years,” shows that during the last 650 days (21 and a half months), his Chicago-born child (born Aug. 24, 2015), Aiden Kai Margallo Russell, has resided 305 days (10 months) in Illinois (Chicago), 255 days (8.5 months) in Florida, (107 days or 3.5 months) in his residential town of Pensacola and 95 days (3 months and 5 days) in Milton, Florida (where they were married) and 53 days (1.8 months) in Melisa’s Filipino mother’s home in Pensacola.
In the last three months (90 days) prior to his filing the Dissolution of Marriage case before the Escambia court, Addison said, Aiden has resided in Chicago for the first 24 days.
Addison explained that Major League Baseball Championship season runs generally April 1- October 1. Playoffs and World Series end late October/early November. Spring Training runs generally Feb. 15 - March 15.
He said both mother and father are Florida residents as indicated on their Driver’s Licenses. Locations out of Florida are temporary absences due to his employment. Between November 2016 to petition date, the child resided in Florida for approximately 140 days in contrast to Illinois at 30 days.
“HAS CONTINUING DUTY TO SUPPORT”
In his Affidavit, Addison said he has “a continuing duty to advise this Court of any custody, visitation or time-sharing, child support, or guardianship proceeding (including dissolution of marriage, separate maintenance, child neglect or dependency) concerning the child in this state or any other state about which information is obtained during this proceeding.
“I understand that I am swearing or affirming under oath to the truthfulness of the claims made in this affidavit and that the punishment for knowingly making a false statement includes fines and/or imprisonment.”
In his motion to stay proceeding filed on July 6, 2017, Russell said when he filed the Dissolution of Marriage on June 8, 2017 in Florida, “seeking determination of parenting responsibilities and parenting time,” it constituted a “prior child custody proceedings” under the UCCJEA of Illinois Act.
He said, “this (Cook County) court is required to ‘stay proceeding and communicate with the Court’ in Florida and must defer to the determination of the Florida court and dismiss this action unless Florida Court determines this Court is a more appropriate forum.”
In response to Addison’s motion to stay proceedings, Melisa, thru her lawyer, Thomas T. Field of Beermann Pritikin Mirabelli Swerdlove LLP, said when she filed the petition to dissolve her marriage to Addison on June 15, 2017, she was not aware that “a separate petition had been filed in Escambia County, Florida.”
UCCJEA TELEPHONE CONFERENCE
She urged the Cook County court to “hold a UCCJEA telephone conference with a judicial officer of Escambia County, Florida to determine which state, Illinois or Florida, is more appropriate to adjudicate the issues presented in the dissolution of marriage proceedings, including but not limited to, issues relating to child-custody.”
Melisa argued that the Illinois court still “has subject matter jurisdiction over the issues presented in the dissolution of marriage. Petitioner was a resident of Cook County, Illinois at the time of the filing of the Illinois Petition and the Respondent has been a resident of Cook County, Illinois 90 days prior to the filing of the Illinois Petition. The parties marital status and the issues of support maintenance/alimony and the equitable division of assets, which emanate therefrom, are 'justiciable' matters giving rise to the Illinois court’s subject matter jurisdiction.”
Melisa argued that Illinois is a “more appropriate forum in which to adjudicate the issues” presented in the case because, the “Respondent, who is currently the sole income earner, primarily resides in Illinois, is primarily employed in Illinois and the majority of the marital assets and liabilities are located in Illinois.”
In response to the motion to dismiss, Melisa said Respondent’s motion to dismiss “is utterly defective in form and in substance. He has failed to articulate a single reason for dismissal and his Motion to Dismiss this action should be denied.”