Prohibits the consideration of evidence that either parent has ever obtained or attempted to obtain reproductive health services relating to the termination of a pregnancy in certain legal proceedings.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the domestic relations law, in relation to prohibiting the consideration of evidence that either parent has ever obtained or attempted to obtain reproductive health services relating to the termination of a pregnancy in certain legal proceedings
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: Prohibits courts from considering evidence that a parent has ever obtained or attempted to obtain certain reproductive health services, including medical, surgical, counseling or referral services relating to the human reproductive system in child custody hearings.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1 amends subdivision (a) of section 70 of the domestic relations law.
Section 2 amends paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 of section 240 of the domestic relations law, as amended by chapter 476 of the laws of 2009.
Section 3 provides that the act shall take effect immediately.
JUSTIFICATION: Under New York State Domestic Relations Law, determinations in child custody hearings are made by examining the best interests of the child. While courts are able to take into account a broad range of evidence in making that determination, the fact that one of the parents has ever obtained or attempted to obtain reproductive health services should not be a factor that the court weighs.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Legislation
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7597 IN SENATE May 15, 2014 ___________Introduced by Sen. HOYLMAN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Children and Families AN ACT to amend the domestic relations law, in relation to prohibiting the consideration of evidence that either parent has ever obtained or attempted to obtain reproductive health services relating to the termination of a pregnancy in certain legal proceedings THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision (a) of section 70 of the domestic relations law, as amended by chapter 457 of the laws of 1988, is amended to read as follows: (a) Where a minor child is residing within this state, either parent may apply to the supreme court for a writ of habeas corpus to have such minor child brought before such court; and on the return thereof, the court, on due consideration, may award the natural guardianship, charge and custody of such child to either parent for such time, under such regulations and restrictions, and with such provisions and directions, as the case may require, and may at any time thereafter vacate or modify such order. In all cases there shall be no prima facie right to the custody of the child in either parent, but the court shall determine solely what is for the best interest of the child, and what will best promote its welfare and happiness, and make award accordingly. IN MAKING A DETERMINATION OF THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION, THE COURT SHALL NOT CONSIDER EVIDENCE THAT EITHER PARENT HAS EVER OBTAINED OR ATTEMPTED TO OBTAIN REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES MEANS HEALTH CARE SERVICES PROVIDED IN A HOSPITAL, CLINIC, PHYSICIAN'S OFFICE OR OTHER FACILITY AND INCLUDES MEDICAL, SURGICAL, COUNSELING OR REFERRAL SERVICES RELATING TO THE HUMAN REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM, INCLUDING SERVICES RELATING TO PREGNANCY OR THE TERMINATION OF A PREGNANCY. S 2. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 of section 240 of the domestic relations law, as amended by chapter 476 of the laws of 2009, is amended to read as follows:EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14793-02-4 S. 7597 2
(a) In any action or proceeding brought (1) to annul a marriage or to declare the nullity of a void marriage, or (2) for a separation, or (3) for a divorce, or (4) to obtain, by a writ of habeas corpus or by peti- tion and order to show cause, the custody of or right to visitation with any child of a marriage, the court shall require verification of the status of any child of the marriage with respect to such child's custody and support, including any prior orders, and shall enter orders for custody and support as, in the court's discretion, justice requires, having regard to the circumstances of the case and of the respective parties and to the best interests of the child and subject to the provisions of subdivision one-c of this section. IN MAKING A DETERMI- NATION OF THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION, THE COURT SHALL NOT CONSIDER EVIDENCE THAT EITHER PARENT HAS EVER OBTAINED OR ATTEMPTED TO OBTAIN REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES MEANS HEALTH CARE SERVICES PROVIDED IN A HOSPITAL, CLINIC, PHYSICIAN'S OFFICE OR OTHER FACILITY AND INCLUDES MEDICAL, SURGICAL, COUNSELING OR REFERRAL SERVICES RELATING TO THE HUMAN REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM, INCLUDING SERVICES RELATING TO PREGNANCY OR THE TERMINATION OF A PREGNANCY. Where either party to an action concerning custody of or a right to visitation with a child alleges in a sworn petition or complaint or sworn answer, cross-petition, counter- claim or other sworn responsive pleading that the other party has committed an act of domestic violence against the party making the alle- gation or a family or household member of either party, as such family or household member is defined in article eight of the family court act, and such allegations are proven by a preponderance of the evidence, the court must consider the effect of such domestic violence upon the best interests of the child, together with such other facts and circumstances as the court deems relevant in making a direction pursuant to this section and state on the record how such findings, facts and circum- stances factored into the direction. If a parent makes a good faith allegation based on a reasonable belief supported by facts that the child is the victim of child abuse, child neglect, or the effects of domestic violence, and if that parent acts lawfully and in good faith in response to that reasonable belief to protect the child or seek treat- ment for the child, then that parent shall not be deprived of custody, visitation or contact with the child, or restricted in custody, visita- tion or contact, based solely on that belief or the reasonable actions taken based on that belief. If an allegation that a child is abused is supported by a preponderance of the evidence, then the court shall consider such evidence of abuse in determining the visitation arrange- ment that is in the best interest of the child, and the court shall not place a child in the custody of a parent who presents a substantial risk of harm to that child, and shall state on the record how such findings were factored into the determination. An order directing the payment of child support shall contain the social security numbers of the named parties. In all cases there shall be no prima facie right to the custody of the child in either parent. Such direction shall make provision for child support out of the property of either or both parents. The court shall make its award for child support pursuant to subdivision one-b of this section. Such direction may provide for reasonable visitation rights to the maternal and/or paternal grandparents of any child of the parties. Such direction as it applies to rights of visitation with a child remanded or placed in the care of a person, official, agency or institution pursuant to article ten of the family court act, or pursuant to an instrument approved under section three hundred fifty-eight-a ofS. 7597 3
the social services law, shall be enforceable pursuant to part eight of article ten of the family court act and sections three hundred fifty- eight-a and three hundred eighty-four-a of the social services law and other applicable provisions of law against any person having care and custody, or temporary care and custody, of the child. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any written application or motion to the court for the establishment, modification or enforcement of a child support obligation for persons not in receipt of public assistance and care must contain either a request for child support enforcement services which would authorize the collection of the support obligation by the immediate issuance of an income execution for support enforcement as provided for by this chapter, completed in the manner specified in section one hundred eleven-g of the social services law; or a statement that the applicant has applied for or is in receipt of such services; or a statement that the applicant knows of the availability of such services, has declined them at this time and where support enforcement services pursuant to section one hundred eleven-g of the social services law have been declined that the applicant understands that an income deduction order may be issued pursuant to subdivision (c) of section fifty-two hundred forty-two of the civil practice law and rules without other child support enforcement services and that payment of an adminis- trative fee may be required. The court shall provide a copy of any such request for child support enforcement services to the support collection unit of the appropriate social services district any time it directs payments to be made to such support collection unit. Additionally, the copy of any such request shall be accompanied by the name, address and social security number of the parties; the date and place of the parties' marriage; the name and date of birth of the child or children; and the name and address of the employers and income payors of the party from whom child support is sought or from the party ordered to pay child support to the other party. Such direction may require the payment of a sum or sums of money either directly to the custodial parent or to third persons for goods or services furnished for such child, or for both payments to the custodial parent and to such third persons; provided, however, that unless the party seeking or receiving child support has applied for or is receiving such services, the court shall not direct such payments to be made to the support collection unit, as established in section one hundred eleven-h of the social services law. Every order directing the payment of support shall require that if either parent currently, or at any time in the future, has health insurance benefits available that may be extended or obtained to cover the child, such parent is required to exercise the option of additional coverage in favor of such child and execute and deliver to such person any forms, notices, documents or instruments necessary to assure timely payment of any health insurance claims for such child. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.