Monday, March 28, 2022

Kyra’s Law: reforms proposed to address domestic violence, protect children

A proposed law to reform New York State’s divorce and Family Courts to protect children and families at risk of domestic violence, is moving closer to passage.

"Kyra’s Law," currently in committee, would amend Domestic Relations Law 240, adding a number of requirements and presumptions in any custody and visitation proceeding involving allegations of child abuse or domestic violence by a parent, regardless of whether the allegations involve the subject child.

The provisions include:

• A requirement that the court must first consider allegations of child abuse or domestic violence before considering any other best interest factors and hold a hearing on the allegations within 60 days of the filing of a petition.
• If the court finds a pattern of domestic violence or child abuse, then the court must award sole custody to the “non-offending parent” and must suspend visitation, or only award professionally supervised visitation, without court discretion.
• In any custody and visitation proceeding where such pattern is found, concerns regarding parental alienation are not admissible and may not be considered in a best interests determination.

The proposed law would also mandate domestic and child abuse training for state judges and other court officials.

For the complete text of the proposed law, click here.