Selected statutes relevant to trial:
FCA § 165. Procedure
[applicability of CPLR]
(a) Where the method of procedure in any proceeding in which the family court has jurisdiction is not prescribed by this act, the procedure shall be in accord with rules adopted by the administrative board of the judicial conference or, if none has been adopted, with the provisions of the civil practice act to the extent they are suitable to the proceeding involved. Upon the effective date of the CPLR, where the method of procedure in any proceeding in which the family court has jurisdiction is not prescribed, the provisions of the civil practice law and rules shall apply to the extent that they are appropriate to the proceedings involved.
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FCA § 651-a. Reports of
child abuse and maltreatment; admissibility
In any proceeding brought pursuant to this section to determine the custody or visitation of minors, a report made to the statewide central register of child abuse and maltreatment, pursuant to title six of article six of the social services law, or a portion thereof, which is otherwise admissible as a business record pursuant to rule forty-five hundred eighteen of the civil practice law and rules shall not be admissible in evidence, notwithstanding such rule, unless an investigation of such report conducted pursuant to title six of article six of the social services law has determined that there is some credible evidence of the alleged abuse or maltreatment, that the subject of the report has been notified that the report is indicated. In addition, if such report has been reviewed by the state commissioner of social services or his designee and has been determined to be unfounded, it shall not be admissible in evidence. If such report has been so reviewed and has been amended to delete any finding, each such deleted finding shall not be admissible. If the state commissioner of social services or his designee has amended the report to add any new finding, each such new finding, together with any portion of the original report not deleted by the commissioner or his designee, shall be admissible if it meets the other requirements of this section and is otherwise admissible as a business record. If such a report, or portion thereof, is admissible in evidence but is uncorroborated, it shall not be sufficient to make a fact finding of abuse or maltreatment in such proceeding. Any other evidence tending to support the reliability of such report shall be sufficient corroboration.
FCA § 656. Order of
protection [permanent order of protection]
The court may make an order of protection and an order of probation in assistance or as a condition of any other order made under this part. The order of protection may set forth reasonable conditions of behavior to be observed for a specific time by any petitioner or any respondent, and shall specify if an order of probation is in effect. No order of protection may direct any party to observe conditions of behavior unless the party requesting the order of protection has served and filed a petition or counter-claim in accordance with section one hundred fifty-four-b of this act. Such an order may require the petitioner or the respondent:
(a) to stay away from the home, school, business or place of employment of any other party, the other spouse or parent, or the child, and to stay away from any other specific location designated by the court;
(b) to permit a parent, or a person entitled to visitation by a court order or a separation agreement, to visit the child at stated periods;
(c) to refrain from committing a family offense, as defined in subdivision one of section eight hundred twelve of this act, or any criminal offense against the child or against the other parent or against any person to whom custody of the child is awarded, or from harassing, intimidating or threatening such persons;
(d) to permit a designated party to enter the residence during a specified period of time in order to remove personal belongings not in issue in this proceeding or in any other proceeding or action under this act or the domestic relations law;
(e) to refrain from acts of commission or omission that create an unreasonable risk to the health, safety or welfare of a child;
(f) to participate in an educational program and to pay the costs thereof if the person has the means to do so, provided however that nothing contained herein shall be deemed to require payment of the costs of any such program by the state or any political subdivision thereof;
(g) to provide, either directly or by means of medical and health insurance, for expenses incurred for medical care and treatment arising from the incident or incidents forming the basis for the issuance of the order;
(h) to pay the reasonable counsel fees and disbursements involved in obtaining or enforcing the order of the person who is protected by such order if such order is issued or enforced.
(i) to observe such other conditions as are necessary to further the purposes of protection.
The court shall not require anyone seeking an order of protection under this section to first request that child protective services investigate the allegations or to first request permission to file a petition under article ten of this act.
Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, an order of protection, or temporary order of protection where applicable, may be entered against a former spouse and persons who have a child in common, regardless whether such persons have been married or have lived together at any time.
Family Court rules:
22 N.Y.C.R.R. § 205.4. Access
to Family Court proceedings
(a) The Family Court is open to the public. Members of the public, including the news media, shall have access to all courtrooms, lobbies, public waiting areas and other common areas of the Family Court otherwise open to individuals having business before the court.
(b) The general public or any person may be excluded from a courtroom only if the judge presiding in the courtroom determines, on a case-by-case basis based upon supporting evidence, that such exclusion is warranted in that case. In exercising this inherent and statutory discretion, the judge may consider, among other factors, whether:
(1) the person is causing or is likely to cause a disruption in the proceedings;
(2) the presence of a person is objected to by one of the parties, including the law guardian, for a compelling reason;
(3) the orderly and sound administration of justice, including the nature of the proceeding, the privacy interests of individuals before the court, and the need for protection of the litigants, in particular, children, from harm requires that some or all observers be excluded from the courtroom;
(4) less restrictive alternatives to exclusion are unavailable or inappropriate to the circumstances of the particular case.
Whenever the judge exercises discretion to exclude any person or the general public from a proceeding or part of a proceeding in Family Court, the judge shall make findings prior to ordering exclusion.
(c) When necessary to preserve the decorum of the proceedings, the judge shall instruct representatives of the news media and others regarding the permissible use of the courtroom and other facilities of the court, the assignment of seats to representatives of the news media on an equitable basis, and any other matters that may affect the conduct of the proceedings and the well-being and safety of the litigants therein.
(d) Audio-visual coverage of Family Court facilities and proceedings shall be governed by part 29 of the Rules of the Chief Judge and Part 131 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator.
(e) Nothing in this section shall limit the responsibility and authority of the Chief Administrator of the Courts, or the administrative judges with the approval of the Chief Administrator of the Court, to formulate and effectuate such reasonable rules and pocedures consistent with this section as may be necessary and proper to ensure that the access by the public, including the press, to proceedings in the Family Court shall comport with the security needs of the courthouse, the safety of persons having business before the court and the proper conduct of court business.
22 N.Y.C.R.R. § 205.14. Time
limitation for proceedings involving custody or visitation
In any proceeding brought pursuant to Sections 467, 651 or 652 of the family Court Act to determine temporary or permanent custody or visitation, once a hearing or trial is commenced, it shall proceed to conclusion within 90 days.