2A:34-72 Jurisdiction declined by reason of conduct.
20. Jurisdiction Declined by Reason of Conduct.
a. Except as otherwise provided in section 16 of this act or by other law of this State, if a court of this State has jurisdiction under this act because a person invoking the jurisdiction has engaged in unjustifiable conduct, the court shall decline to exercise its jurisdiction unless:
(1) the parents and all persons acting as parents have acquiesced in the exercise of jurisdiction;
(2) a court of the state otherwise having jurisdiction under sections 13 through 15 of this act determines that this State is a more appropriate forum under section 19 of this act; or
(3) no other State would have jurisdiction under sections 13 through 15 of this act.
b. If a court of this State declines to exercise its jurisdiction pursuant to subsection a. of this section, it may fashion an appropriate remedy to ensure the safety of the child and prevent a repetition of the wrongful conduct, including staying the proceeding until a child custody proceeding is commenced in a court having jurisdiction under sections 13 through 15 of this act.
C. If a court dismisses a petition or stays a proceeding because it declines to exercise its jurisdiction pursuant to subsection a. of this section, it shall charge the party invoking the jurisdiction of the court with necessary and reasonable expenses including costs, communication expenses, attorney’s fees, investigative fees, expenses for witnesses, travel expenses, and child care during the course of the proceedings, unless the party from whom fees are sought establishes that the award would be inappropriate. The court may not assess fees, costs, or expenses against this State except as otherwise provided by law other than this act. No fees, costs or expenses shall be assessed against a party who is fleeing an incident or pattern of domestic violence or mistreatment or abuse of a child or sibling, unless the court is convinced by a preponderance of evidence that such assessment would be clearly appropriate.
d. In making a determination under this section, a court shall not consider as a factor weighing against the petitioner any taking of the child or retention of the child from the person who has rights of legal custody, physical custody or visitation, if there is evidence that the taking or retention of the child was to protect the petitioner from domestic violence or to protect the child or sibling from mistreatment or abuse.
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