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Confidential Addresses


Requesting a "Confidential Address" in New York City Family Court


What does the law provide?

Any person in a Family Court case may ask the court to keep his or her address confidential from the other party. This application may be made when you file your initial papers or at any time during the pendency of the proceeding. If the Court grants your request, your address will not appear on any petitions, pleadings or papers submitted to the court.

If the other party does not know your address and you feel that you or your child(ren) will be exposed to danger or violence if your identifying information were known, you may request that your address be marked as “confidential.”

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Howcan I request that my address remain confidential in a Family Court case?

The Family Court has procedures in place to keep your address confidential. You may make this application when you file your initial papers. Once you make a request to have your address designated as “confidential,” the clerk will give you an “Address Confidentiality Affidavit” (GF-21) which you must complete and sign. You can get this form at the petition room or download it from the court’s website at <www.nycourts.gov/forms/familycourt/general.shtml>. If you have questions about the affidavit, the petition room staff will help you complete this form. You will be asked for a reason why your address should not be disclosed. You must choose one of the following reasons:

1. Disclosure of your address would pose an unreasonable risk to your health, safety or your child(ren)’s health or safety.

2. You are in a residential program for victims of domestic violence or a shelter provided for parents accompanying abused or neglected children, or a shelter for homeless persons. (If you are in domestic violence shelter, you DO NOT have to provide your address.)

3. You were previously granted an address confidentiality order from this court or another court.

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Whathappens when I get into the courtroom?

When you go into the courtroom, tell the judge you are seeking to have your address remain confidential. The judge will conduct a brief hearing on the first day you appear in court or at a later date. At that time you will have the opportunity to tell the judge why you believe your address should remain confidential. Before the Court can issue an “Address Confidentiality Order,” the judge must determine that disclosure of your address would pose an unreasonable risk to you or your child’s health or safety. Your address will be treated as confidential until the judge makes a decision on your request.

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Whathappens if the Court grants my request to maintain my address as confidential?

If the Court grants your request, you are required to name someone to receive future legal papers, including petitions filed against you in the Family Court. The person you name to accept these papers on your behalf is called your “designated agent for service.” You may designate (name) an attorney, any person over age eighteen or the Clerk of the Family Court to be your “agent for service” for future family court proceedings. The Court will notify the person you have named as your agent and will provide you with a copy of the court order.

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Whatdoes it mean to have a confidential address?

If the judge grants your request, your address will be listed as “Confidential” in the court file and on all papers filed in the Family Court. The court will mail all Family Court legal process to the person you named as your agent. It is that person’s responsibility to provide you with copies of any papers s/he receives from the court.

If your address is confidential and the other party files any Family Court petitions or papers against you, he or she will serve those papers on the person you named as your agent. Your agent will be responsible for getting the papers to you. If you named the Clerk of Court as your agent, the court will mail these papers to the address the court has on file for you.

It is your responsibility to make sure the person you named as your agent has your current address at all times. You will be asked to sign a form in which you agree that you will promptly notify the person you named as your agent of any change in your address.

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Whatshould I do if my address has changed after my request has been granted?

You are responsible for providing your correct address to the person you named as your agent. It is extremely important that you notify your agent each and every time your address changes. If you fail to report a change of address or provide a correct address, your agent will not be able to inform you of any proceedings that have been filed against you, provide you with copies of legal papers received on your behalf, or any decisions or Orders issued by the Court.

If you designated the Clerk of Court as your agent, you MUST inform the court of any change of address. You may appear in person to complete a “Change of Address” form or you may download this form from the website and mail it to the court along with a photocopy of your government issued photo identification. If you are unable to download the form you may write a letter requesting a change of address and mail it to the court along with your photo ID.

If you have changed your address but have not notified your agent, that person will not be able to notify you to appear in court. Once your agent receives copies of the papers, you are legally served, and the judge will have the power to decide the case even if you do not receive them from your agent. If you do not appear in court there is a possibility that the case will proceed in your absence and the judge could enter Orders against you that you will be required to follow.

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