New York Law
Family Court Laws
Consolidated Laws of New York
Part 3 - Article 5 - Family Court
||Testimony by telephone, audio-visual means or other electronic means.
||Genetic marker and DNA tests; admissibility of records or reports of test results; costs of tests.
||Adjournment on application of party.
||Adjournment on motion of court.
||Counsel for social services commissioner.
S 531. Hearing. The trial shall be by the court without a jury. The
mother or the alleged father shall be competent to testify but the
respondent shall not be compelled to testify. If the mother is married
both she and her husband may testify to nonaccess. If the respondent
shall offer testimony of access by others at or about the time charged
in the complaint, such testimony shall not be competent or admissible in
evidence except when corroborated by other facts and circumstances
tending to prove such access. The court may exclude the general public
from the room where the proceedings are heard and may admit only persons
directly interested in the case, including officers of the court and
S 531-a. Testimony by telephone, audio-visual means or other
electronic means. (a) In any proceeding under this article, the court
may permit a party or a witness to be deposed or to testify by
telephone, audio-visual means, or other electronic means at a designated
family court or other location:
(i) where such party or witness resides in a county other than that of
the family court where the case is pending and that of any contiguous
county; provided, however, that for the purposes of this section, the
five counties of New York city shall be treated as one county;
(ii) where such party or witness is presently incarcerated and will be
incarcerated on the date on which the hearing or deposition is scheduled
and is not expected to be released within a reasonable period of time
after the date on which the hearing is scheduled; or
(iii) where the court determines that it would be an undue hardship
for such party or witness to testify or to be deposed at the family
court where the case is pending.
(b) Any such deposition or testimony taken by telephone, audio-visual
means or other electronic means in accordance with subdivision (a) of
this section shall be recorded and preserved for transcription. Where a
party or witness is deposed or testifies by telephone, audio-visual or
other electronic means pursuant to this section, documentary evidence
referred to by a party or witness or the court may be transmitted by
facsimile, telecopier, or other electronic means and may not be excluded
from evidence by reason of an objection based on the means of
transmission. The chief administrator of the courts shall promulgate
rules to facilitate the taking of testimony by telephone, audio-visual
means or other electronic means.
S 532. Genetic marker and DNA tests; admissibility of records or
reports of test results; costs of tests. (a) The court shall advise the
parties of their right to one or more genetic marker tests or DNA tests
and, on the court's own motion or the motion of any party, shall order
the mother, her child and the alleged father to submit to one or more
genetic marker or DNA tests of a type generally acknowledged as reliable
by an accreditation body designated by the secretary of the federal
department of health and human services and performed by a laboratory
approved by such an accreditation body and by the commissioner of health
or by a duly qualified physician to aid in the determination of whether
the alleged father is or is not the father of the child. No such test
shall be ordered, however, upon a written finding by the court that it
is not in the best interests of the child on the basis of res judicata,
equitable estoppel, or the presumption of legitimacy of a child born to
a married woman. The record or report of the results of any such genetic
marker or DNA test ordered pursuant to this section or pursuant to
section one hundred eleven-k of the social services law shall be
received in evidence by the court pursuant to subdivision (e) of rule
forty-five hundred eighteen of the civil practice law and rules where no
timely objection in writing has been made thereto and that if such
timely objections are not made, they shall be deemed waived and shall
not be heard by the court. If the record or report of the results of any
such genetic marker or DNA test or tests indicate at least a ninety-five
percent probability of paternity, the admission of such record or report
shall create a rebuttable presumption of paternity, and shall establish,
if unrebutted, the paternity of and liability for the support of a child
pursuant to this article and article four of this act.
(b) Whenever the court directs a genetic marker or DNA test pursuant
to this section, a report made as provided in subdivision (a) of this
section may be received in evidence pursuant to rule forty-five hundred
eighteen of the civil practice law and rules if offered by any party.
(c) The cost of any test ordered pursuant to subdivision (a) of this
section shall be, in the first instance, paid by the moving party. If
the moving party is financially unable to pay such cost, the court may
direct any qualified public health officer to conduct such test, if
practicable; otherwise, the court may direct payment from the funds of
the appropriate local social services district. In its order of
disposition, however, the court may direct that the cost of any such
test be apportioned between the parties according to their respective
abilities to pay or be assessed against the party who does not prevail
on the issue of paternity, unless such party is financially unable to
S 533. Adjournment on application of party. The court, on application
of either party, may for good cause shown grant such adjournments as may
be necessary. If an adjournment is granted upon the request of either
party, the court may require the respondent to give an undertaking for
S 534. Adjournment on motion of court. On its own motion, the court
may adjourn the hearing after it has made a finding of paternity to
enable it to make inquiry into the surroundings, conditions and
capacities of the child, into the financial abilities and
responsibilities of both parents or for other proper cause. If the court
so adjourns the hearing, it may require the respondent to give an
undertaking to appear.
S 535. Counsel for social services commissioner. (a) The corporation
counsel of the city of New York shall represent the social services
commissioner of such city in all proceedings under this article in which
the commissioner is the petitioner.
(b) In any county outside the city of New York in which attorneys have
been appointed pursuant to section sixty-six of the social services law,
such attorneys may represent the social services commissioner of such
county in all proceedings under this article in which the commissioner
is the petitioner.
(c) Except as provided in subdivision (b) of this section, in any
county outside the city of New York, the county attorney, or an attorney
designated by the county executive, if there be one, otherwise by the
board of supervisors, shall represent the social services commissioner
of the county in all proceedings under this article in which the
commissioner is the petitioner.
S 536. Counsel fees. Once an order of filiation is made, the court in
its discretion may allow counsel fees to the attorney for the prevailing
party, if he or she is unable to pay such counsel fees. Representation
by an attorney pursuant to paragraph (b) of subdivision nine of section
one hundred eleven-b of the social services law shall not preclude an
award of counsel fees to an applicant which would otherwise be allowed
under this section.
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