Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
Domestic Relations Law 75
DRL 75: Short title and statement of legislative intent
DRL 75: UCCJEA TITLE I
Title I: General Provisions
S 75. Short title and statement of legislative intent.
1. This article may be cited as the "uniform child custody jurisdiction and enforcement act".
2. It is the intent of the legislature in enacting this article to provide an effective mechanism to obtain and enforce orders of custody and visitation across state lines and to do so in a manner that ensures that the safety of the children is paramount and that victims of domestic violence and child abuse are protected. It is further the intent of the legislature that this article be construed so as to ensure that custody and visitation by perpetrators of domestic violence or homicide of a parent, legal custodian, legal guardian, sibling, half-sibling or step-sibling of a child is restricted pursuant to subdivision one-c of section two hundred forty of this chapter and section one thousand eighty-five of the family court act.
S 75-a. Definitions.
In this article:
1. "Abandoned" means left without provision for reasonable and necessary care or supervision.
2. "Child" means an individual who has not attained eighteen years of age.
3. "Child custody determination" means a judgment, decree, or other order of a court providing for the legal custody, physical custody, or visitation with respect to a child. The term includes a permanent, temporary, initial, and modification order. The term does not include an order relating to child support or other monetary obligation of an individual.
4. "Child custody proceeding" means a proceeding in which legal custody, physical custody, or visitation with respect to a child is an issue. The term includes a proceeding for divorce, separation, neglect, abuse, dependency, guardianship, paternity, termination of parental rights, and protection from domestic violence, in which the issue may appear. The term does not include a proceeding involving juvenile delinquency, person in need of supervision, contractual emancipation, or enforcement under title three of this article.
5. "Commencement" means the filing of the first pleading in a proceeding.
6. "Court" means an entity authorized under the law of a state to establish, enforce, or modify a child custody determination.
7. "Home state" means the state in which a child lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding. In the case of a child less than six months of age, the term means the state in which the child lived from birth with any of the persons mentioned. A period of temporary absence of any of the mentioned persons is part of the period.
8. "Initial determination" means the first child custody determination concerning a particular child.
9. "Issuing court" means the court that makes a child custody determination for which enforcement is sought under this article.
10. "Issuing state" means the state in which a child custody determination is made.
11. "Modification" means a child custody determination that changes, replaces, supersedes, or is otherwise made after a previous determination concerning the same child, whether or not it is made by the court that made the previous determination.
12. "Person" means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, government, governmental subdivision, agency or instrumentality, public corporation or any other legal or commercial entity.
13. "Person acting as a parent" means a person, other than a parent, who:
(a) has physical custody of the child or has had physical custody for a period of six consecutive months, including any temporary absence, within one year immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding; and
(b) has been awarded legal custody by a court or claims a right to legal custody under the law of this state.
14. "Physical custody" means the physical care and supervision of a child.
15. "State" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
16. "Tribe" means an Indian tribe or band, or Alaskan Native village, which is recognized by federal law or formally acknowledged by a state.
17. "Warrant" means an order issued by a court authorizing law enforcement officers to take physical custody of a child.
18. "Law enforcement officer" means a police officer as defined in subdivision thirty-four of section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law.
S 75-b. Proceedings governed by other laws.
This article does not govern an adoption proceeding or a proceeding pertaining to the authorization of emergency medical care for a child.
S 75-c. Application to Indian tribes.
1. A child custody proceeding that pertains to an Indian child as defined in the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. S 1901 et seq., is not subject to this article to the extent that it is governed by the Indian Child Welfare Act.
2. A court of this state shall treat a tribe as if it were a state of the United States for the purpose of applying this title and title two of this article.
3. A child custody determination made by a tribe under factual circumstances in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of this article must be recognized and enforced under title three of this article.
S 75-d. International application of article.
1. A court of this state shall treat a foreign country as if it were a state of the United States for the purpose of applying this title and title two of this article.
2. Except as otherwise provided in subdivision three of this section, a child custody determination made in a foreign country under factual circumstances in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of this article must be recognized and enforced under title three of this article.
3. A court of this state need not apply this article if the child custody law of a foreign country as written or as applied violates fundamental principles of human rights.
S 75-e. Effect of child custody determination.
A child custody determination made by a court of this state that had jurisdiction under this article binds all persons who have been served in accordance with the laws of this state or notified in accordance with section seventy-five-g of this title or who have submitted to the jurisdiction of the court, and who have been given an opportunity to be heard. As to those persons, the determination is conclusive as to all decided issues of law and fact except to the extent the determination is modified or except to the extent that enforcement of an order would violate subdivision one-c of section two hundred forty of this chapter or section one thousand eighty-five of the family court act.
S 75-f. Priority.
If a question of existence or exercise of jurisdiction under this article is raised in a child custody proceeding, the question, upon request of a party, child or law guardian must be given priority on the calendar and handled expeditiously.
S 75-g. Notice to persons outside state.
1. Notice required for the exercise of jurisdiction when a person is outside this state may be given in a manner prescribed by the law of this state for service of process or by the law of the state in which the service is made. Notice must be given in a manner reasonably calculated to give actual notice but may be by publication if other means are not effective.
2. Proof of service may be made in the manner prescribed by the law of this state or by the law of the state in which the service is made.
3. Notice is not required for the exercise of jurisdiction with respect to a person who submits to the jurisdiction of the court.
S 75-h. Appearance and limited immunity.
1. A party to a child custody proceeding, including a modification proceeding, or a petitioner or respondent in a proceeding to enforce or register a child custody determination, is not subject to personal jurisdiction in this state for another proceeding or purpose solely by reason of having participated, or of having been physically present for the purpose of participating, in the proceeding.
2. A person who is subject to personal jurisdiction in this state on a basis other than physical presence is not immune from service of process in this state. A party present in this state who is subject to the jurisdiction of another state is not immune from service of process allowable under the laws of that state.
3. The immunity granted by subdivision one of this section does not extend to civil litigation based on acts unrelated to the participation in a proceeding under this article committed by an individual while present in this state.
S 75-i. Communication between courts.
1. A court of this state may communicate with a court in another state concerning a proceeding arising under this article.
2. The court may allow the parties to participate in the communication. If the parties are not able to participate in the communication, they must be given the opportunity to present facts and legal arguments before a decision on jurisdiction is made.
3. Communication between courts on schedules, calendars, court records, and similar matters may occur without informing the parties. A record need not be made of the communication.
4. Except as otherwise provided in subdivision three of this section, a record must be made of a communication under this section. The parties must be informed promptly of the communication and granted access to the record.
5. For the purposes of this section, "record" means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.
S 75-j. Taking testimony in another state.
1. In addition to other procedures available to a party, a party to a child custody proceeding may offer testimony of witnesses who are located in another state, including testimony of the parties and the child, by deposition or other means allowable in this state for testimony taken in another state. The court on its own motion may order that the testimony of a person be taken in another state and may prescribe the manner in which and the terms upon which the testimony is taken.
2. A court of this state may permit an individual residing in another state to be deposed or to testify by telephone, audiovisual means, or other electronic means before a designated court or at another location in that state. A court of this state shall cooperate with courts of other states in designating an appropriate location for the deposition or testimony.
3. Documentary evidence transmitted from another state to a court of this state by technological means that do not produce an original writing may not be excluded from evidence on an objection based on the means of transmission.
S 75-k. Cooperation between courts; preservation of records.
1. A court of this state may request the appropriate court of another state to:
(a) hold an evidentiary hearing;
(b) order a person to produce or give evidence pursuant to procedures of that state;
(c) order that an evaluation be made with respect to the custody of a child involved in a pending proceeding;
(d) forward to the court of this state a certified copy of the transcript of the record of the hearing, the evidence otherwise presented, and any evaluation prepared in compliance with the request; and
(e) order a party to a child custody proceeding or any person having physical custody of the child to appear in the proceeding with or without the child.
2. Upon the request of a court of another state, a court of this state may hold a hearing or enter an order described in subdivision one of this section.
3. Travel and other necessary and reasonable expenses incurred under subdivisions one and two of this section may be assessed against the parties according to the law of this state.
4. A court of this state shall preserve the pleadings, orders, decrees, records of hearings, evaluations, and other pertinent records with respect to a child custody proceeding at least until the child attains eighteen years of age. Upon appropriate request by a court or law enforcement official of another state, the court shall forward a certified copy of those records.
LINK TO SECTIONS OF THE UCCJEA
DRL 75 DRL 76 DRL 77 DRL 78 DRL 78-a
This section of the Domestic Relations Law is provided as part of a free educational service by J. Douglas Barics, attorney at law for reference only. Statutes and codes such as the UCCJEA - DRL 75 are frequently amended, and no representation is made that the above version of DRL 75 - UCCJEA Title I - General Provisions is current. Updated statutes and codes may be available at the New York State Legislature Website. No statute should be relied on without understanding controlling case law which may further interpret it. An attorney should be consulted for legal advice.
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J. Douglas Barics, Esq. – Divorce, family, matrimonial, trial and appeals lawyer in Long Island, New York