Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence


Legislative Summaries by Year

2010 New York State Domestic Violence and Related Laws

The Following Bills Have Been Signed Into Law by the Governor:

Strangulation - A.10161-A Lentol / S.6987-A Schneiderman Creates a new Article 121 in the Penal Law, titled "Strangulation and Related Offenses," establishing the new crimes of criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation (A misdemeanor), strangulation in the second degree (D violent felony), and strangulation in the first degree (C violent felony). All offenses are added to the list of family offenses. In addition, the strangulation offenses are added to various sections of existing law for other considerations, such as DNA collection, hate crime prosecution, etc.

Amends multiple sections of NYS laws, including Penal, Criminal Procedure, Domestic Relations, Executive, Mental Hygiene, Vehicle and Traffic, Social Services and the Family Court Act. (see list of law sections amended)

Effective: November 11, 2010 Chapter 405

No-fault Divorce - A.9753-A Bing / S.3890-A Hassell-Thompson Allows a spouse to file for divorce on the grounds that the relationship has irretrievably broken down for at least six months.A divorce cannot be granted until the issues of marital property distribution, spousal or child support, child custody and visitation, and counsel’s fees have been resolved by the parties or the court.

Creates Domestic Relations Law §170(7)

Effective: October 12, 2010 Chapter 384

Post Marital Maintenance - A.10984-B Paulin / S.8390 Hassell-Thompson Requires courts to assess the respective incomes of divorcing parties and award temporary maintenance, determined by an established formula and set of factors, to the less moneyed spouse. The law also requires the NYS Law Revision Commission to assess the economic consequences of divorce on married couples, to review the spousal maintenance laws of the state and to submit a preliminary and a final report to the legislature and the Governor with recommendations for revisions to spousal maintenance laws (effective immediately).

Creates Domestic Relations Law §236(B)(5-a)

Effective: October 12, 2010 Chapter 371

Counsel and Expert Witness Fees in Divorce Cases – A.7569-A Weinstein / S.4532-A Sampson

Establishes a presumption that the less moneyed spouse in a divorce case is entitled to payment of counsel and expert witness fees and requires the parties to submit financial information to the court to determine payment by the other spouse.

Amends Domestic Relations Law §237(a) and (b) *A subsequent law (Chapter 415) moved the effective date up to August 13, 2010.

Effective: October 12, 2010*Chapter 329

Extension of Order of Protection – A.6195-A Weinstein / S. 2972-A Sampson

Authorize Family Court to extend a current order of protection for a reasonable period of time, upon a showing of good cause or consent of the parties. The fact that abuse has not occurred while the order has been in effect cannot, in itself, constitute sufficient ground for denying, or failing to extend, the order.The new law requires the court to state the basis for its decision on the record.

Amends Family Court Act §842

Effective: August 13, 2010 Chapter 325

Electronic Transmission of Orders of Protection – A.10410 Rosenthal / S.7289 Sampson

Allows Family Courts and Supreme Courts to fax or electronically transmit temporary and final orders of protection, and any accompanying papers, to local police agencies for service on respondents. This will allow for easier and faster service of orders from Family Court and in matrimonial cases.

Amends Family Court Act §153-b and Domestic Relations Law §§240 & 252

Effective: July 30, 2010 Chapter 261

Police Service of Orders of Protection, Extensions and Violations – A.11100 Weinstein / S.8058 Hassell-Thompson

Requires police officers to serve, or provide for the service of, temporary and permanent orders of protection, and any accompanying papers.The requirement also applies to extensions, modifications and violations of orders. The law extends the previous prohibition against charging fees for service of these additional orders.If service cannot be completed, the officer must provide to the court proof of attempted service, including the manner in which the service was attempted.

Amends Family Court Act §153-b; Domestic Relations Law §240(3-a)

Effective: August 30, 2010 Chapter 446

Orders of Protection Based on Non-contemporaneous Acts – A.8393-A Weinstein / S.5696-A Sampson

Prohibits Family Courts or Supreme Courts from dismissing a petition or denying an order of protection solely on the basis that the acts or events alleged are not relatively recent. The law also states that the duration of a temporary order cannot, by itself, be a factor in issuing or determining the length of a final order.

Amends Family Court Act §446

Effective : August 13, 2010 Chapter 341

Unlisted Phone Number – A.6509-B Rivera / S.5615-A Parker

Requires participating phone companies and cable television companies who provide phone service in NYS to allow domestic violence victims who have a permanent order of protection to request an unlisted telephone number or a modified or alternative listing, free of charge, for the duration of the order.In order to be eligible, participating domestic violence victims must submit a copy of their order of protection to their phone service provider. The law also authorizes the Public Service Commission to develop any rules and regulations necessary to implement the new law and requires the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and the Office of Children and Family Services to assist the Commission in reporting on its use, cost and future funding options.

Creates Public Service Law §91(7)

Effective:December 11, 2010Chapter 327

Protections for Victims in Rent-regulated Apartments – A.2365-A / S.3317-A Oppenheimer

Amends NYC Code and various sections of NYS law that govern rent-regulated housing, to permit domestic violence victims to maintain their rental unit as their primary residence if they have left the unit because of the violence.To be eligible under this new provision, the tenant must be a victim of domestic violence, as defined in Social Services Law §459-a, and must state an intent to return to live in the unit.

Amends NYC Administrative Code: §26-403(e)(2)(i)(10); §26-502(a)(1)(f)

Amends NYS law:§4(5)(a)(11) of Chapter 576 of the laws of 1974 (Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974; §2(2)(1) of Chapter 274 of the laws of 1946 (Emergency Housing Rent Control Law)

Effective:August 30, 2010 Chapter 422

Confidentiality of Voter Registration Records – A.9368-A Gabryczak / S.5945-A Foley

Allows a domestic violence victim to apply to the Supreme Court in the county where the victim lives, for a court order requiring the County Board of Elections to keep her registration information, including residential address, separate and not available to the public. Victims of a family offense or violent felony, where the act resulted in emotional or physical injury, or the substantial risk of emotional or physical harm, are eligible, if they meet the definition of family/household member.

Creates Election Law §5-508

Effective: May 5, 2010 Chapter 73

Special Absentee Ballot – A.3910-A Gabryczak / S.1535-A Morahan

Amends a 1996 law that permitted victims of domestic violence to vote by special absentee ballot. The new 2010 amendment expands the original requirement that a victim must have left the original residence due to threats of physical harm, to now include threats of emotional harm. The new law also expands eligibility by adopting a variation on New York’s definition of family or household member, including intimate partners.

Amends Election Law §11-306

Effective: April 14, 2010 Chapter 38

Law Guardian/Attorney for the Child - A.7805 – B Weinstein / S.5461-B Schneiderman

Laws passed in 2007 and 2008 began using the new term “attorney for the child,” instead of the old term, "law guardian." This new law substitutes "attorney for the child" wherever law guardians are referenced in the law. This change is intended to more accurately reflect the attorney's role, which is not neutral, and to clarify that the attorney does not function as a mental health professional or mediator, but rather, represents the child.

Amends various sections of the CPLR, DRL, Executive Law, Judiciary Law, Family Court Act, Public Health Law and the Social Services Law.

Effective: April 14, 2010 Chapter 41

Referee Extension – A.10851-A Weinstein / S.8013 Sampson Extends for two additional years, the ability of Family Court referees to hear petitions for and issue orders of protection any time the Court is in session, during or after established business hours. Training on domestic violence is required for all persons who are designated to serve as referees.

Repeals previous and creates a new Judiciary Law §212(2)(n)

Effective: August 13, 2010 Chapter 363

Internet Dating Safety - A.5180-A Pfeffer / S.6283 Klein

Requires Internet dating services with members in NYS to provide a safety awareness notice to customers.The safety awareness notification would be required to include, at minimum, a list and description of safety measures designed to increase customer awareness of safer dating practices.

Creates General Business Law §394-cc

Effective: December 28, 2010 Chapter 425

Witness Order of Protection- Juvenile Delinquency Cases – A.1870-A Pheffer / S.5421 Sampson

Authorizes the Family Court to issue an order of protection for a witness in a juvenile delinquency proceeding, if the court makes a finding that the respondent has previously intimidated or attempted to intimidate the witness, or is likely to do so in the future.

Creates Family Court Act §352.3(1-a)

Effective: November 28, 2010 Chapter 421


Housing Discrimination Protection – A.9020-A Destito / S. 5999-A Hassell-Thompson

Establishes a variety of provisions that make it unlawful to discriminate against a domestic violence victim in housing accommodations, public accommodations or the use of educational facilities.

Veto #6759

Employment Discrimination Protection – A.9018-A John / S.6000-A Hassell-Thompson

Requires an employer to provide certain leave accommodations to a domestic violence victim, including time off to:obtain services from a domestic violence program or a rape crisis program, obtain legal services,participate in safety planning, including relocation, and time off if the victim, or the victim’s child, needs to obtain medical attention or psychological counseling.

Veto #6760

Vetoes #6759 & #6760

These two bills, which provided protections against employment and housing discrimination, for victims of domestic violence, were vetoed by the Governor based on concerns that they contained a definition of “victim of domestic violence” that was too expansive.The Governor strongly supported the intent of the legislation, but expressed concern that including victims of all penal law offenses alleged to have been committed by a family member would extend the bills’ protections and accommodations to inappropriate situations. The Governor noted that an omnibus domestic violence bill with a more narrow definition was agreed upon and signed into law in 2009.He encouraged the Legislature to pass a bill with the same definition as contained in the 2009 law and directed his staff to discuss the legislation with both houses if there were questions, in order to reach an agreement.

Address Confidentiality Program – A.10180 Weinstein / S.7379 Adams

Establishes a substitute address program within the NY Department of State to allow victims of domestic violence, who meet prescribed certification requirements, to designate the Secretary of State as their agent for receipt of mail and service of process.

Veto #6764

While expressing strong support for enhanced safety measures for domestic violence victims, the Governor vetoed this bill based on the estimated fiscal impact to the State ($5.0 m), and the fact that the Legislature identified no funding source for implementation.The Governor also took issue with the bill’s definition of “victim of domestic violence” – noting that the definition, which included any violation of the penal law, had been expanded from previous versions of the bill and was too broad.