Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Law

Summary of New York State Domestic Violence and Related Laws by Subject (beginning from 1995)

Subject Categories

Custody/Visitation
Visitation/Custody of Child Conceived in Sexual Offense - A. 7188-A Paulin / S.5069-A Skelos

Restricts the parental rights of individuals convicted of certain sexual offenses:  rape first/second degree, course of sexual conduct against a child first degree, predatory sexual assault and predatory sexual assault against a child. When a child is conceived as a result of these offenses, the law will now presume that granting custody to, or visitation with, the offender is not in the best interest of the child. The law also prohibits notifying the offender of certain proceedings involving the child, such as foster care or adoption. 

Signed: September 27, 2013 Chapter 371

Effective: September 27, 2013

Amends: Domestic Relations Law §240 (1-c) and §111-a(1)

Social Services Law §384-c(1)

2009 Omnibus Domestic Violence Bill  (A.9017 Weinstein/S.5031-A Hassell Thompson)

Makes numerous changes to various state laws, including:

  • requires judges to state on the record how domestic violence and/or child abuse were factored into custody and visitation decisions
  • strengthens domestic violence training requirements for attorneys for children (law guardians)
  • requires law enforcement to forward domestic incident reports to probation and parole officers
  • provides for certain violation-level harassment convictions to remain unsealed and accessible to law enforcement, thereby, providing a more complete history of abuse – multiple sections/effective dates
  • protects victims of sexual assault committed by a family or household member by designating certain low-level sexual assault crimes as family offenses, requiring that mandatory arrest provisions apply and allowing victims to petition Family Court for orders of protection, which would be required to be filed with the statewide registry
  • provides greater protections to victims by adding the length of incarceration to the maximum expiration date previously allowed for orders of protections issued in misdemeanor and violation cases

Signed:  2009 Chapter 476

Effective: December 19, 2009, except for multiple unsealed convictions provisions, which have varying effective dates

Amends:  Family Court Act §§249-b; 812; 821

Domestic Relations Law §240

Criminal Procedure Law §§530.11; 140.10; 160.55; 170.10; 530.12; 530.13

Custody in Military Cases - Amendment  (A.8789 Ortiz/S.6037 Aubertine)

Makes technical and procedural changes to Chapter 576 of the Laws of 2008, which allowed amended custody and visitation orders to be deemed temporary in cases where one parent was activated, deployed, or temporarily assigned to the military.  The military service person could reopen the custody proceeding for the courts to determine if their return from service constituted a “sufficient change in circumstance” to allow modification of an order.  The new law changes the order altering custody from a “temporary” order to a “modification” of an order and establishes that the returning parent automatically has legal standing to challenge the modification, on the grounds that their return is, by itself, a “substantial change in circumstances.”

Signed: 2009 Chapter 473

Effective: November 15, 2009

Amends:  Domestic Relations Law §§75-1; 240(1)(a-2)

Family Court Act §651(f)

Military Law §253 

Custody in Military Cases (A.8722-A Ortiz/S.5860-A Rath)

Prohibits a permanent change in custody, and establishes standards and procedures for a temporary change in custody, while a parent is activated, deployed, or temporarily assigned to military service.  If a temporary change is sought, a law guardian must be appointed to represent the child.  The law provides guidance for facilitating contact while the military parent is away, establishing a parenting schedule when the parent is on leave and reviewing circumstances when the parent returns, to determine if there should be a change or modification to the custody order.

Signed: 2008 Chapter 576

Effective:   March 24, 2009

Amends:  Domestic Relations Law §75-l

Custody/Registries Check - Amendment  (A.2004-A Weinstein/S.5697 Sampson)

Makes technical and procedural changes to Chapter 595 of the Laws of 2008, which requires judges to review reports of the sex offender registry, the statewide computerized registry of warrants and orders of protection, and any related Article 10 decisions from child abuse and neglect proceedings, before issuing a permanent (or successive temporary) order of custody or visitation.  The law did not require these checks for an initial temporary order of custody, however, checks were to be completed when a subsequent order was issued after more than one month had passed since the first temporary order.  A.2004-A addresses the implementation challenges of checking all three databases for every custody or visitation case by lengthening to ninety days the time allowed between reviews of databases before issuing a successive temporary order of custody or visitation.  In addition, in signing Chapter 595 in 2008, the Governor noted the difficulties with name-based record checks of outstanding criminal warrants. To address this concern, A.2004-A limits the required warrant check to Family Court warrants.

Signed: 2009 Chapter 295

Effective: August 11, 2009

Amends:  Domestic Relations Law §240(1)(a-1)

Family Court Act §651(e)

Custody/Registries Check  (A.11657-A Weinstein/S.8569-A DeFrancisco)

Requires judges to review the following records, prior to issuing a permanent or successive temporary order of custody or visitation:

  • reports of the sex offender registry
  • reports of the statewide computerized registry of orders of protection
  • any related Article 10 decisions from child abuse and neglect proceedings

The law does not require these checks for an initial temporary order of custody.  However, checks must be completed when a subsequent order is issued after more than one month has passed since the first temporary order.  The law also requires the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), in conjunction with the Office of Court Administration, to conduct a study assessing the feasibility of connecting court computers to the OCFS computer system for the purpose of accessing the State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR).

(In signing the new law, the Governor noted that several concerns had been raised over the limitations and problems involved in using information from the SCR. He requested that, in addition to examining technological feasibility, OCFS include in the study an analysis of any policy or programmatic concerns that would result if access to SCR records was granted.  Approval Message #38)

Signed: 2008 Chapter 595

Effective: March 24, 2009

Amends: Domestic Relations Law §240(1)(a-1)

Family Court Act §651(e)

Executive Law §221-a(6)

Corrections Law §168-b(2)(b)

Custody/Child Abuse Allegation  (A.7089-A Bing/S.6201-A Duane)

Prevents a parent from being penalized in custody and visitation decisions, when the parent made a good faith allegation that a child is the victim of abuse, neglect or domestic violence, or when the parent takes any subsequent actions to protect or seek treatment for the child. The law also requires the court to consider any allegations of abuse when determining visitation and prohibits granting custody to a parent who presents a substantial risk of harm to the child.

Signed: 2008 Chapter 538

Effective: September 4, 2008

Amends:  Domestic Relations Law §240(1)(a)

Termination of Parental Rights (S.5392-B Meier/A.11582-B Rivera)

Expands the grounds on which parental rights can be terminated. In addition to the current grounds of homicide/attempted homicide of another child of the parent, the new law adds any child for whom the defendant is/was legally responsible. The new law also includes homicide/attempted homicide of the other parent of the child, unless committed by a victim of domestic violence and the violence was a contributing factor to the crime.

Signed: 2006 Chapter 460

Effective: November 14, 2006

Amends: Social Services Law §§384-b(3)(1)(i); 384-b(3)(1)(v)

Grandparent's Custody(A.8302-B Green/S.4224-A Saland)

Grants grandparents legal standing to petition for custody where extraordinary circumstances (as defined in the bill) can be demonstrated.

Signed: 2003 Chapter 657

Effective: January 5, 2004

Amends: Domestic Relations Law§72

Family Court Act §§651(b) and (d); 1017(1)

Social Services Law §384-a(1-a)

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act  (A.4203 Weinstein/S.1834 Saland)

Creates consistent court rules for interstate custody decisions, governing under what circumstances a state may exercise jurisdiction to issue, modify or enforce child custody orders. Includes an expedited procedure for enforcement and protections for domestic violence victims, including address confidentiality.

Signed: 2001 Chapter 386

Effective: April 29, 2002

Amends:  Domestic Relations Law Article 5-A

Custody Prohibition in Sibling Murder Cases(A.8134 Koon/S.4665-A Defrancisco)

Prohibits the court from awarding visitation or custody of a child to any person convicted of first or second degree murder of the child's sibling, half-sibling or step-sibling.

Signed: 1999 Chapter 378

Effective: July 27, 1999

Amends:  Domestic Relations Law §240(1-c)(a) and (c)

Family Court Act §1085

Custody Prohibition in Murder Cases(A.11346 Bragman/S.5799-B DeFrancisco)

Provides that no court shall issue an order of visitation or custody to a person who has been convicted of first or second degree murder of a parent or legal custodian of a child, unless the child is of suitable age to assent and assents to visitation and the court finds that such visitation is in the child's best interest; grants exceptions where the person convicted of murder was the victim of domestic violence and the individual murdered was the perpetrator of the domestic violence.

Signed: 1999 Chapter 150

Effective:  September 28, 1999

Amends:  Domestic Relations Law §240(1-c)

Domestic Relations Law §240(1)

Family Court Act §1085

Domestic Violence/Custody Factor  (A.2446-C Weinstein/S.7403-B Saland)

The new law amends the Family Court Act and Domestic Relations law, and requires judges to consider the effect of domestic violence in assessing the best interests of a child, or children, when making custody and visitation determinations.

Signed: 1996 Chapter 85

Effective: September 28, 1999

Amends:  Domestic Relations Law §240(1)

Family Court Act §§447(a); 467(c); 549(1); 651; 652(c)