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Over the last 2 weeks, many Lakewood residents have received in the mail and seen on social media flyers attacking Rabbi Dovid Markin, a Dayan in Beis Havaad.

In response, FAA News took a deep dive into the matter to ascertain what's going on here.

The topic at hand involves a divorce matter which was arbitrated by Rabbi Markin.

See part one of this story here on FAA News.

Recently, the flyers were highlighted on a local blog. In response, FAA News took an even deeper dive into the matter.

The parties divorced in 2017 by way of a Matrimonial Settlement Agreement which is a signed divorce agreement specifying how to divide financial assets and debts including a marital home, provide schedules for child custody and visitation and determines spousal and child support. The MSA additionally stipulates that any future disputes which arise will be adjudicated in a Bais Din in lieu of court.

The MSA granted both parents joint legal custody, with the children living primarily with the mother and the father having specific rights of visitation, including alternate weekends (including Sunday after school) and every Wednesday after school.

The MSA further stipulated that as long as both parties reside within the Lakewood area, the father shall be responsible for all transportation for his visitation time, and that "should the wife change her residential location, either temporarily or permanently such that driving between the parties is lengthened, the arbitrator shall determine who is obligated to provide transportation."

More importantly, the MSA provides:

The wife may not alter her residential address more than 75 miles from Lakewood... if the husband is still living in Lakewood and if her move outside this area will burden his exercise of his co-parenting rights... However, if the wife finds a suitable marriage partner that specifically decides to live outside this 75 mile area, the wife shall be permitted to move pending both parties' agreement to a new visitation schedule. If the parties cannot come to an agreement themselves, the Arbitrator shall make a new agreement. The wife shall not move outside Lakewood... until the matter has been adjudicated by the Arbitrator..."

Everything went smoothly until 2020.

In 2020, the wife relocated to Los Angeles to get remarried. The husband argued that this was against the MSA. The parties arbitrated the matter before Rabbi Lieb Landesman. The mother argued that the MSA permitted her to relocate in case she remarries, and the father argued that the MSA is not binding and he was pressured into signing it.

In a written decision dated August 11, 2020, Rabbi Landesman permitted the wife to live in Los Angeles, explaining that he was simply upholding the MSA which did permit her to relocate in case she does remarry.

The wife's new marriage lasted only a few months. After she separated she continued to live with the children in Los Angeles.

As a result, the father summoned the mother back to Bais Din, seeking for her to return to Lakewood. On December 21, 2020, Rabbi Landesman agreed and ruled that because she was no longer remarried, she needed to return to Lakewood.

The wife agreed to return to New Jersey as soon as practicable. At that point, the parties signed an Arbitration Agreement submitting to Rabbi Dovid Markin.

The wife told Rabbi Markin that she wanted to relocate to Far Rockaway, arguing that the MSA does permit her to relocate 75 linear miles away from Lakewood. The husband argued that the MSA is not binding and he was pressured into signing it, and also that it's better for the children to go to school in Lakewood.

In accordance with Bais Havaad policy which is to affirm MSA's as much as possible, Rabbi Markin signed a psak permitting the mother to relocate to Far Rockaway, finding that the MSA does permit the mother to relocate 75 linear miles away from Lakewood.

The affect of this psak was that the father lost numerous a significant number of hours each week from his visitation time. The father reacted by withholding child support and tuition and trying to keep the children for more than his allotted time.

Due to the father's non-compliance with his earlier psak, Rabbi Markin ordered the father to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and to chip in for a parenting coordinator.

The father has now retained Attorney Ian Goldman Esq.

As he was not present at the arbitration sessions, Mr. Goldman subpoenaed Rabbi Markin's records from the sessions, as Bais Din is statutorily required to retain records from all sessions involving custody and parenting time.

Rabbi Markin released certain records, which Mr. Goldman found to be not satisfactorily.

Mr. Goldman has now filed legal action seeking to remove Rabbi Markin as arbitrator, in part for his failure to keep the required records, and alleging that "he failed to make findings of fact or even conduct a substantive investigation in violation of New Jersey Supreme Court case law showing how this is in the children's best interest."

Mr. Goldman is not denying the fact that the parties freely entered into their MSA which stipulates that any disputes are to be adjudicated in Bais Din, nor the fact that the parties freely entered into an agreement submitting to Rabbi Markin's jurisdiction. Rather, Mr. Goldman is seeking to overturn Rabbi Markin's jurisdiction simply on technicalities.

In her cross motion filings, the wife, who is represented by Attorney Jeffrey Epstein Esq. asserts that her ex-husband owes her $30,000 in child support plus tuition.

Family Part Judge Sean Gertner is scheduled to hold oral arguments on the motion.

In the meantime, the flyers have been mailed out to Lakewood residents in an attempt to intimidate Rabbi Markin to change his ruling which affirmed the MSA.

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Anonymous said...

This case may have a rippled affect on the community as a whole. Bais Havaad's strong policy of enforcing MSA's actually makes it easier for women to obtain gitten because men are now "safe" to give a get with the assurance that Bais Din will continue to enforce the MSA's in case of future disputes. However, if courts and Bais Din will start to permit women to tear apart their signed agreements, men will be a lot more hesitant to give a get based on a MSA.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone consider that the woman marrying and divorcing again likely has incalculable effects on the psyche of the helpless children?

Anonymous said...

So the claims of 'parental alienation' have been found to be bogus. He wasn't alienated from his children, he can still visit with them, spend Shabbos with them and be involved in their lives. He just has some discomfort around it, because they are living further away than previously.

So some people are taking a ride on the anti-parental alienation movement to attack people who have nothing to do with the problem.

Anonymous said...

In this case it’s the husband trying to rewrite the MSA. Unusual, but true in this case.

Anonymous said...

If they were so worried about the kids psyche they would have stuck it out together until the kids were older. Now the “milk” is already spilled, one can not use this lame excuse.

Anonymous said...

Like all the rest of the fine print, she continues to squeeze the husband. The original MSA said she can move 75 miles, which will allow visitation easily. Then you read on that she argued that she can be 75 linear miles. Which means if you fly by helicopter you are within 75 miles. But check on your waze far Rockaway is over 80 miles away. But that's how they bend the rules. And then your going to blame him for not keeping all the details

Anonymous said...

Psychiatric evaluation on the husband??
Whose kids have such little time as it is??
Mind you, the secular law in NJ is 50/50 custody, because they've seen the damage to children who are deprived of father-time. By Yiddin especially, This isn't supposed to be about a piece of paper.

It's improper to comment, let alone be a judge, when your not heavily and intimitely involved in a marriage...

Anonymous said...

I don't know what's true here. Though how do you expect someone to be a normal father while driving 75 miles every time to see his children and back? And then a Dayan says he needs a psychiatric evaluation? Unfortunately, some Dayanim can indeed fail to see the full picture with so much going on and act very lost.

shmoiger said...

For what it's worth, a dayan who does not have people slinging mud at them, is not someone I would be willing to entrust.
You must be willing to offend at least one party in a case.

Yudel Shain said...

A professed "Dayan" with a HISTORY of coming from a divorced home his entire life, Alienated from his father for 30 years, his close friends say he was a very "farbiseneh" troubled individual, etc.

How could he allow himself to be an arbitrator for divorce issues, visitation issues, etc.?

How could a prominent Bais Din allow him to be an arbitrator under their auspices.

State Judges reject and throw out all of his rulings.

Conclusion?, don't use a Bais Din that has these type of individual on their Bais Din.

Anonymous said...

You can make up anything you want verify all of these accusations against the Dayan call up people involved. It’s good old divorce with unhappy sides. FYI the husband is the one who insisted on this arbitrator.