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New York Matrimonial Trial Handbook

The New York Matrimonial Trial Handbook by Joel R. Brandes is available online in the print edition at the Bookbaby Bookstore and other bookstores. It is now available in Kindle ebook editions and epub ebook editions in our website bookstore. It is also available at Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble and Goodreads.

The New York Matrimonial Trial Handbook was written for both the attorney who has never tried a matrimonial action and for the experienced litigator. It is a “how to” book for lawyers. This 836 page handbook focuses on the procedural and substantive law, as well as the law of evidence, that an attorney must have at his or her fingertips when trying a matrimonial action. It is intended to be an aid for preparing for a trial and as a reference for the procedure in offering and objecting to evidence during a trial. The handbook deals extensively with the testimonial and documentary evidence necessary to meet the burden of proof. There are thousands of suggested questions for the examination of witnesses at trial to establish each cause of action and requests for ancillary relief, as well as for the cross-examination of difficult witnesses. Table of Contents

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 New York Legislature Enacts Laws Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence

The 2013 New York Legislature amended  Domestic Relations Law, the Family Court Act and the Criminal Procedure Law, to protect victims of domestic abuse by recognizing, as family offenses, some forms of economic abuse perpetrated against victims by their abusers. 

Family Court Act, §812 (1), Family Court Act § 821 (1) (a), Criminal Procedure Law § 530.11, were amended to add as family offenses, identity theft in the first degree, identity theft in the second degree and identity theft in the third degree (Penal Law §190.80, §190.79 and §190.38), grand larceny in the third degree and grand larceny in the forth degree ( Penal Law §155.35 and §155 30), and coercion in the second degree (Penal Law § 135.60, subdivisions one, two and three.) Laws of 2013, Ch 526, effective December 18, 2013. See NY Legis Memo 526 (2013)


Domestic Relations Law § 240 (3) (a), Domestic Relations Law § 252, Family Court Act § 446, Family Court Act § 551, Family Court Act § 656, Family Court Act § 842, Family Court Act § 1056, and Criminal Procedure Law § 530.12 were amended to provide that an order of protection may require the petitioner or respondent to promptly return specified identification documents to the protected party, in whose favor the order of protection or temporary order of protection is issued. "Identification document" means any of the following exclusively in the name of the protected party: birth certificate, passport, social security card, health insurance or other benefits card, a card or document used to access bank, credit or other financial accounts or records, tax returns, any driver's license, and immigration documents including but not limited to a United States permanent resident card and employment authorization document. Upon motion and after notice and an opportunity to be heard, "Identification document" means any of the following, including those that may reflect joint use or ownership, that the court determines are necessary and are appropriately transferred to the protected party: any card or document used to access bank, credit or other financial accounts or records, tax returns, and any other identifying cards and documents. The order may include any appropriate provision designed to ensure that any such document is available for use as evidence in the proceeding, and available if necessary for legitimate use by the party against whom the order is issued; and specify the manner in which such return shall be accomplished. Laws of 2013, Ch 526, effective December 18, 2013. See NY Legis Memo 526 (2013)

The 2013 legislature amended the domestic relations law, the family court act and the criminal procedure law to protect victims of domestic violence from being charged with and prosecuted for violating their own order of protection.

Among other statutes amended Domestic Relations Law § 240, (3) (b) was amended and a new paragraph i was added. Domestic Relations Law §252 (2) was amended and a new subdivision 9-a was added. The amendments make it clear that victims cannot be prosecuted for violating orders of protection issued in their favor, and are intended to clarify that the protected party in whose favor the order of protection or temporary order of protection is issued may not be held to violate an order issued in his or her favor and that such protected party may not be arrested for violating such an order. The amendments require a notice in orders of protection that make it clear that the order of protection will remain in effect even if the protected party has, or consents to have, contact or communication with the restrained party and that the protected party cannot be held to violate an order issued in his/her favor nor can such party be arrested for violating such an order. The amendments were enacted November 13, 2013 and apply to all orders of protection regardless of when such orders were issued, except for sections of the law that require the addition of a notice on the order of protection, which sections are effective on January 12, 2013, and shall apply to orders issued on or after such effective date. Laws of 2013, Ch 480, effective November 13, 2013.


2013 New York Legislation Restricts Parental Rights of Sexual Perpetrators When a Child Is Born as a Result of Sexual Offenses.

Domestic Relations Law 240 (1-c) was amended to provide that there shall be a rebuttable presumption that it is not in the best interests of the child to be placed in the custody of or to visit with a person who has been convicted (in this state or in another jurisdiction) of one or more of the following sexual offenses, when a child who is subject of the proceeding was conceived as a result: rape in the first or second degree; course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree; predatory sexual assault; or predatory sexual assault against a child. Laws of 2013, Ch 371, §1, effective immediately.



Domestic Relations Law 111-a (1) was amended to provide that a person who has been convicted (in this state or in another jurisdiction) of rape in the first or second degree; course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree; predatory sexual assault; or predatory sexual assault against a child shall not be entitled to receive notice of adoption proceedings, when the child subject to these proceedings was conceived as the result of the sexual offenses committed. Laws of 2013, Ch 371, §2, effective immediately.

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