If the victim of the nonconsensual online publication of intimate photos is involved in a child custody dispute, he or she may use evidence of this type of misconduct to establish abuse or harassment by his or her former spouse or lover. When determining child custody, the court’s primary consideration is to decide what is in the “best interests of the child, and what will best promote its welfare and happiness.”1
b. Text of Statutes
1) N.Y. Dom. Law § 70 – Habeas corpus for child detained by parent
(1) Where a minor child is residing within this state, either parent may apply to the supreme court for a writ of habeas corpus to have such minor child brought before such court; and on the return thereof, the court, on due consideration, may award the natural guardianship, charge and custody of such child to either parent for such time, under such regulations and restrictions, and with such provisions and directions, as the case may require, and may at any time thereafter vacate or modify such order. In all cases there shall be no prima facie right to the custody of the child in either parent, but the court shall determine solely what is for the best interest of the child, and what will best promote its welfare and happiness and make award accordingly.
(2) Any order under this section which applies to rights of visitation with a child remanded or placed in the care of a person, official, agency or institution pursuant to article ten of the family court act or pursuant to an instrument approved under section three hundred fifty-eight-a of the social services law, shall be enforceable pursuant to the provisions of part eight of article ten of such act, sections three hundred fifty-eight-a and three hundred eighty-four-a of the social services law and other applicable provisions of law against any person or official having care and custody, or temporary care and custody, of such child.
2) N.Y. Dom. Law § 240 – Custody and child support; orders of protection
(1) (a) In any action or proceeding brought (1) to annul a marriage or to declare the nullity of a void marriage, or (2) for a separation, or (3) for a divorce, or (4) to obtain, by a writ of habeas corpus or by petition and order to show cause, the custody of or right to visitation with any child of a marriage, the court shall require verification of the status of any child of the marriage with respect to such child’s custody and support, including any prior orders, and shall enter orders for custody and support as, in the court’s discretion, justice requires, having regard to the circumstances of the case and of the respective parties and to the best interests of the child and subject to the provisions of subdivision one-c of this section. Where either party to an action concerning custody of or a right to visitation with a child alleges in a sworn petition or complaint or sworn answer, cross-petition, counterclaim or other sworn responsive pleading that the other party has committed an act of domestic violence against the party making the allegation or a family or household member of either party, as such family or household member is defined in article eight of the family court act, and such allegations are proven by a preponderance of the evidence, the court must consider the effect of such domestic violence upon the best interests of the child, together with such other facts and circumstances as the court deems relevant in making a direction pursuant to this section. If a parent makes a good faith allegations based on a reasonable belief supported by the facts that the child is the victim of child abuse, child neglect, or the effects of domestic violence, and if that parent acts lawfully and in good faith in response to that reasonable belief to protect the child or seek treatment for the child, then that parent shall not be deprived of custody, visitation or contact with the child, or restricted in custody, visitation or contact, based solely on that belief or the reasonable actions taken based on that preponderance of the evidence, then the court shall consider such evidence of abuse in determining the visitation arrangement that is in the best interest of the child, and the court shall not place a child in the custody of a parent who presents a substantial risk of harm to that child. An order directing the payment of child support shall contain the social security numbers of the named parties. In all cases, there shall be no prima facie right to the custody of the child in either parent. Such direction shall make provision for child support out of the property of either or both parents. The court shall make its award for child support pursuant to subdivision one-b of this section. Such direction may provide for reasonable visitation rights to the maternal and/or paternal grandparents of any child of the parties. Such direction as it applies to rights of visitation with a child remanded or placed in the care of a person, official, agency or institution pursuant to article ten of the family court act, or pursuant to an instrument approved under section three hundred fifty-eight-a of the social services law, shall be enforceable pursuant to part eight of article ten of the family court act and sections three hundred fifty-eight-a and three hundred eight-four-a of the social services law and other applicable provisions of law against any person having care and custody or temporary care and custody, of the child.
A search of New York cases citing these laws did not reveal any cases that are factually relevant or analogous to WMC’s target situations.
d. Practice Pointers
New York forms regarding child custody are also available online.2
- 1. N.Y. Dom. Law § 70.
- 2. New York State Unified Court System, “Family Court Forms – Custody & Visitation Forms,” available at http://www.nycourts.gov/forms/familycourt/custodyvisitation.shtml (last visited Apr. 28, 2012).