New York State Law

Family Court Law

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Part 1 - Article 1 - Family Court

APPLICABILITY OF ACT AND CREATION OF COURT

Section Description
111 Title of act.
112 Applicability.
113 Establishment of court.
114 "Exclusive original jurisdiction".
115 Jurisdiction of family court.
116 Religion of custodial persons and agencies.
117 Parts of court.
118 Seal.
119 Definitions.
120 Expenses of the court.
  S 111. Title of act. The title of this act is "the family court act of
  the state of New York." It may be cited as "The Family Court Act."

  S 112. Applicability. The family court act applies in all counties of
  the state of New York.

  S 113. Establishment  of court. The family court of the state of New
  York is established in each county of the state as part of  the  unified
  court system for the state.

  S 114. "Exclusive  original  jurisdiction".  When  used in this act,
  "exclusive original jurisdiction" means that the proceedings over  which
  the  family  court  is given such jurisdiction must be originated in the
  family court in the manner prescribed by this act.   The  provisions  of
  this act shall in no way limit or impair the jurisdiction of the supreme
  court  as  set forth in section seven of article six of the constitution
  of the state of New York.

  S 115. Jurisdiction  of  family  court.  (a)  The  family  court has
  exclusive original jurisdiction over
    (i) abuse and neglect proceedings, as set forth in article ten;
    (ii) support proceedings, as set forth in article four;
    (iii) proceedings to  determine  paternity  and  for  the  support  of
  children born out-of-wedlock, as set forth in article five;
    (iv)   proceedings   to   permanently  terminate  parental  rights  to
  guardianship and custody of a child: (A) by reason of permanent neglect,
  as set forth in part one of article six of this act and paragraph (d) of
  subdivision four of section three hundred eighty-four-b  of  the  social
  services  law,  (B)  by reason of mental illness, mental retardation and
  severe or repeated child abuse, as set forth in paragraphs (c)  and  (e)
  of subdivision four of section three hundred eighty-four-b of the social
  services  law,  and  (C)  by reason of the death of one or both parents,
  where no  guardian  of  the  person  of  the  child  has  been  lawfully
  appointed,  or by reason of abandonment of the child for a period of six
  months immediately prior to the filing of the petition, where a child is
  under the jurisdiction of the family court as a result of a placement in
  foster care by the family court pursuant to article ten or ten-A of this
  act or section three hundred fifty-eight-a of the social  services  law,
  unless the court declines jurisdiction pursuant to section three hundred
  eighty-four-b of the social services law;
    (v) proceedings concerning whether a person is in need of supervision,
  as set forth in article seven; and
    (vi)  proceedings  concerning  juvenile  delinquency  as  set forth in
  article three.
    (b) The family court has such other jurisdiction as is  set  forth  in
  this act, including jurisdiction over habeas corpus proceedings and over
  applications   for  support,  maintenance,  a  distribution  of  marital
  property and custody in matrimonial actions when referred to the  family
  court  by  the  supreme court, conciliation proceedings, and proceedings
  concerning physically handicapped and  mentally  defective  or  retarded
  children.
    (c)  The  family  court  has such other jurisdiction as is provided by
  law, including but not limited to: proceedings concerning  adoption  and
  custody  of children, as set forth in parts two and three of article six
  of this  act;  proceedings  concerning  the  uniform  interstate  family
  support  act,  as  set  forth in article five-B of this act; proceedings
  concerning children in foster care and care and custody of children,  as
  set  forth  in  sections  three  hundred fifty-eight-a and three hundred
  eighty-four-a of the social services law and article ten-A of this  act;
  proceedings  concerning  former  foster children as set forth in article
  ten-B of this act; proceedings concerning  destitute  children,  as  set
  forth  in article ten-C of this act; proceedings concerning guardianship
  and custody of children by reason of the death  of,  or  abandonment  or
  surrender  by,  the  parent  or  parents, as set forth in sections three
  hundred eighty-three-c, three hundred eighty-four and paragraphs (a) and
  (b) of subdivision four of section three hundred  eighty-four-b  of  the
  social  services  law;  proceedings  concerning standby guardianship and
  guardianship of the person as set forth in part four of article  six  of
  this  act  and article seventeen of the surrogate's court procedure act;
  and proceedings concerning the interstate compact on  juveniles  as  set
  forth  in chapter one hundred fifty-five of the laws of nineteen hundred
  fifty-five, as amended, the  interstate  compact  on  the  placement  of
  children,  as  set  forth in section three hundred seventy-four-a of the
  social services law, and the  uniform  child  custody  jurisdiction  and
  enforcement  act,  as  set  forth  in  article  five-A  of  the domestic
  relations law.
    (d) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a)  through  (c)  of  this  section,
  jurisdiction  of  the  family  court  and tribal courts of Indian tribes
  designated by the Secretary of the Interior  over  those  child  custody
  proceedings provided for in articles three, seven, ten and ten-A of this
  act   and   sections  three  hundred  fifty-eight-a  and  three  hundred
  eighty-four-b of the social services law involving  Indian  children  as
  defined  in subdivision thirty-six of section two of the social services
  law shall be subject to the terms and conditions set forth in applicable
  sections of title twenty-five of the United States code;  provided  that
  tribal  courts  of  Indian tribes designated as such by the state of New
  York  shall  have  jurisdiction  over  such  child  custody  proceedings
  involving  Indian  children  to  the same extent as federally designated
  Indian tribes upon the approval of the  state  office  of  children  and
  family  services  pursuant to section thirty-nine of the social services
  law.
    (e) The family court has concurrent  jurisdiction  with  the  criminal
  court over all family offenses as defined in article eight of this act.
    (f)  The  family  court has jurisdiction to direct the commencement of
  proceedings to suspend the driving privileges, recreational licenses and
  permits, and license, permit, registration or authority to  practice  of
  persons  who are delinquent in their child or combined child and spousal
  support  obligations  or  persons  who  have  failed,  after   receiving
  appropriate  notice,  to  comply  with  summonses, subpoenas or warrants
  relating to paternity and child support  proceedings  as  set  forth  in
  sections  four  hundred  fifty-eight-a, four hundred fifty-eight-b, four
  hundred  fifty-eight-c,  five  hundred   forty-eight-a,   five   hundred
  forty-eight-b,  and  five  forty-eight-c  of this act. Such jurisdiction
  shall include jurisdiction over all boards, departments, authorities  or
  offices of the state for the purposes of implementing such section.

  S 116. Religion  of  custodial  persons and agencies. (a) Whenever a
  child is remanded or committed by  the  court  to  any  duly  authorized
  association,  agency,  society or institution, other than an institution
  supported and controlled by the state or  a  subdivision  thereof,  such
  commitment  must  be  made,  when  practicable,  to  a  duly  authorized
  association, agency, society or institution under the control of persons
  of the same religious faith or persuasion as that of the child.
    (b)  Whenever  any  child  thus  committed  is  placed  by  any   such
  association, agency, society or institution in a family, or in the home,
  or in the custody, of any person other than that of its birth or adopted
  parent  or  parents, or when so placed or paroled directly by the court,
  such placement or parole must, when  practicable,  be  with  or  in  the
  custody of a person or persons of the same religious faith or persuasion
  as that of the child.
    (c)  In  appointing  guardians of children, except guardians ad litem,
  and in granting orders of adoption of children,  the  court  must,  when
  practicable,  appoint  only  as  such  guardians,  and only give custody
  through adoption to, persons of the same religious faith  or  persuasion
  as that of the child.
    (d)  The  provisions  of  paragraphs  (a), (b) and (c) of this section
  shall be interpreted literally, so  as  to  assure  that  in  the  care,
  protection,  guardianship,  discipline  or  control  of  any  child  his
  religious faith shall be preserved and protected by the court. But  this
  section  shall  not  be  construed  so  as to prevent the remanding of a
  child, during the pendency of a proceeding,  to  a  place  of  detention
  designated by rules of court nor to the placing of a child in a hospital
  or similar institution for necessary treatment.
    (e)  The  words  "when  practicable"  as used in this section shall be
  interpreted as being without force or effect if there  is  a  proper  or
  suitable  person of the same religous faith or persuasion as that of the
  child available for appointment as guardian,  or  to  be  designated  as
  custodian,  or  to  whom  control  may  be  given,  or to whom orders of
  adoption may be granted; or if there is a duly  authorized  association,
  agency,  society or institution under the control of persons of the same
  religious faith or  persuasion  as  that  of  the  child,  at  the  time
  available and willing to assume the responsibility for the custody of or
  control over any such child.
    (f)  If  a child is placed in the custody, or under the supervision or
  control, of a person or of persons of a religious  faith  or  persuasion
  different  from  that  of  the  child,  or  if  a guardian of a child is
  appointed whose religious faith or persuasion is different from that  of
  the  child,  or if orders of adoption are granted to a person or persons
  whose religious faith is different from that of the child adopted, or if
  a child is remanded or  committed  to  a  duly  authorized  association,
  agency,  society  or  institution, or to any other place, which is under
  the control of persons of a religious faith or persuasion different from
  that of the child, the court shall state or recite the facts which impel
  it to make such disposition and such statement shall be made a  part  of
  the minutes of the proceeding.
    (g)  The provisions of subdivisions (a), (b), (c), (d), (e) and (f) of
  this section shall, so far as consistent with the best interests of  the
  child,  and  where  practicable,  be applied so as to give effect to the
  religious  wishes  of  the  birth  mother,  if   the   child   is   born
  out-of-wedlock, or if born in-wedlock, the religious wishes of the birth
  parents  of  the  child,  or  if  only  one  of  the birth parents of an
  in-wedlock child is then living,  the  religious  wishes  of  the  birth
  parent  then  living.  Religious  wishes of a birth parent shall include
  wishes that the child be placed in the same religion as the birth parent
  or in a different religion from the birth parent or with indifference to
  religion  or  with  religion  a  subordinate  consideration.   Expressed
  religious  wishes of a birth parent shall mean those which have been set
  forth  in  a  writing  signed  by  the  birth  parent, except that, in a
  non-agency adoption, such writing shall be an  affidavit  of  the  birth
  parent. In the absence of expressed religious wishes, as defined in this
  subdivision, determination of the religious wishes, if any, of the birth
  parent,  shall be made upon the other facts of the particular case, and,
  if there is no evidence to the contrary, it shall be presumed  that  the
  birth  parent wishes the child to be reared in the religion of the birth
  parent.

  S 117. Parts of court. (a) There is hereby established in the family
  court a "child abuse part". Such part shall be held  separate  from  all
  other  proceedings  of  the  court, and shall have jurisdiction over all
  proceedings in the family court involving abused children, and shall  be
  charged  with  the  immediate  protection  of  these children. All cases
  involving abuse shall be originated in or be transferred  to  this  part
  from  other parts as they are made known to the court unless there is or
  was before the court a proceeding involving  any  members  of  the  same
  family  or household, in which event the judge who heard said proceeding
  may hear the case involving abuse. Consistent with its primary  purpose,
  nothing in this section is intended to prevent the child abuse part from
  hearing other cases.
    (b)  For  every  juvenile  delinquency  proceeding under article three
  involving an allegation of an act committed by a person which,  if  done
  by  an adult, would be a crime (i) defined in sections 125.27 (murder in
  the  first  degree);  125.25  (murder  in  the  second  degree);  135.25
  (kidnapping  in the first degree); or 150.20 (arson in the first degree)
  of the penal law committed by a person  thirteen,  fourteen  or  fifteen
  years  of age; or such conduct committed as a sexually motivated felony,
  where authorized pursuant to section  130.91  of  the  penal  law;  (ii)
  defined  in  sections  120.10  (assault  in  the  first  degree); 125.20
  (manslaughter in the first degree); 130.35 (rape in the  first  degree);
  130.50  (criminal sexual act in the first degree); 135.20 (kidnapping in
  the second degree), but only where the abduction  involved  the  use  or
  threat  of  use  of  deadly  physical force; 150.15 (arson in the second
  degree); or 160.15 (robbery in  the  first  degree)  of  the  penal  law
  committed  by  a  person  thirteen, fourteen or fifteen years of age; or
  such conduct committed as a sexually motivated felony, where  authorized
  pursuant  to section 130.91 of the penal law; (iii) defined in the penal
  law as an attempt to commit murder in the  first  or  second  degree  or
  kidnapping  in the first degree committed by a person thirteen, fourteen
  or fifteen years of  age;  or  such  conduct  committed  as  a  sexually
  motivated  felony,  where  authorized  pursuant to section 130.91 of the
  penal law; (iv)  defined  in  section  140.30  (burglary  in  the  first
  degree);  subdivision  one  of  section  140.25  (burglary in the second
  degree); subdivision two  of  section  160.10  (robbery  in  the  second
  degree) of the penal law; or section 265.03 of the penal law, where such
  machine  gun  or  such  firearm  is possessed on school grounds, as that
  phrase is defined in subdivision fourteen of section 220.00 of the penal
  law committed by a person fourteen or fifteen  years  of  age;  or  such
  conduct  committed  as  a  sexually  motivated  felony, where authorized
  pursuant to section 130.91 of the penal  law;  (v)  defined  in  section
  120.05  (assault  in the second degree) or 160.10 (robbery in the second
  degree) of the penal law committed by a person fourteen or fifteen years
  of age but only where there has been a prior finding  by  a  court  that
  such  person  has  previously committed an act which, if committed by an
  adult, would be the crime of assault in the second  degree,  robbery  in
  the  second degree or any designated felony act specified in clause (i),
  (ii) or (iii) of this subdivision regardless of the age of  such  person
  at  the  time  of  the commission of the prior act; or (vi) other than a
  misdemeanor, committed by a person at least seven but less than  sixteen
  years  of  age,  but only where there has been two prior findings by the
  court that such person has committed a prior act which, if committed  by
  an adult would be a felony:
    (i) There is hereby established in the family court in the city of New
  York at least one "designated felony act part." Such part or parts shall
  be held separate from all other proceedings of the court, and shall have
  jurisdiction over all proceedings involving such an allegation. All such
  proceedings  shall  be originated in or be transferred to this part from
  other parts as they are made known to the court.
    (ii)  Outside  the city of New York, all proceedings involving such an
  allegation shall have a hearing preference over every  other  proceeding
  in the court, except proceedings under article ten.
    (c)  The  chief  administrator of the courts may establish one or more
  separate  support  parts  in  each  family  court  for  the  purpose  of
  expediting  support  proceedings  instituted  pursuant to articles four,
  five and five-A of this act.  Where  such  separate  support  parts  are
  established,   all  such  proceedings  shall  be  originated  in  or  be
  transferred to this part or parts as they are made known  to  the  court
  and  shall  be  heard  by support magistrates in accordance with section
  four hundred thirty-nine of this act.
    (d) The appellate division of the supreme court in each department may
  provide, in accordance with the standards and  policies  established  by
  the  administrative  board  of  the judicial conference, that the family
  court in counties within its department shall or may be  organized  into
  such other parts, if any, as may be appropriate.

  S 118. Seal. The seal of the family court consists of an engraving of
  the arms of the state of New York and the words  "Family  Court  of  the
  State  of  New  York"  followed  by  the name of the county in which the
  family court using the seal is located.

  S 119. Definitions.  When  used  in this act and unless the specific
  context indicates otherwise:
    (a) "Duly authorized  association,  agency,  society  or  institution"
  means  any  institution  supported  or  controlled  by the state or by a
  subdivision thereof; any social services official of this state;  or  an
  association, agency, society, or institution, duly empowered to care for
  children, which
    (i) is incorporated under the laws of this state;
    (ii) actually has its place of business or home within the state; and
    (iii) is approved, visited, inspected and supervised by the department
  of family assistance, or which shall submit and consent to the approval,
  visitation,  inspection  and  supervision  of  the  department of family
  assistance.
    (b) "Person legally responsible for the  child's  care"  includes  the
  child's  custodian,  guardian  or  any  other person responsible for the
  child's care at the relevant time.
    (c) The term "infant" or "minor" means a person who has  not  attained
  the age of eighteen years.

  S 120. Expenses  of  the court. (a) All salaries of the judicial and
  non-judicial personnel of the court and all other expenses of the  court
  whatsoever, except as provided in subdivision (b), shall within the city
  of  New  York,  be a city charge and in the counties outside the city of
  New  York,  a  county  charge;  provided   however,   that   the   final
  determination of the itemized estimates of the annual financial needs of
  the  court  shall  be  made  by the appropriate governing bodies of such
  counties and the city of New York in  the  manner  provided  in  article
  seven-a  of the judiciary law, and section twenty-nine of article six of
  the constitution.
    (b) Salaries of support magistrates appointed in proceedings to compel
  support pursuant to section four hundred thirty-nine of this  act  shall
  be  a  state  charge  payable out of funds appropriated to the office of
  court administration for that purpose.

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