Family Law

All family law matters in New York are subject to unique state law provisions. The laws in New York may be similar to other states but all family law matters in New York are governed by the specific laws of New York State (whether or not such laws are consistent with other states).

Family Law in New York is governed generally by the Family Court Act. The Family Court has jurisdiction over proceedings involving:

  • abuse and neglect
  • support
  • paternity
  • termination of parental rights
  • persons is in need of supervision
  • juvenile delinquency
  • physically and mentally handicapped children
  • adoption
  • custody
  • foster care
  • guardianship
  • family offenses and other ancillary matters.

However, divorce and separation are not within the jurisdiction of the Family Court and must be brought before the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

There are specific procedures regarding Family Law in New York, different from procedures in other New York legal matters. Often, the primary concern of the court and the guiding principle of the legal process is ascertaining and safeguarding the “best interests” of the child.

While Family Court is more accessible than Supreme Court to parties without attorneys, it is nevertheless a court of law. Formal process is required and full legal impact is given to the court’s directives and determinations. The issues before the family court are intimately personal and profoundly significant to the parties and their children. Understanding the rules, knowing the procedures, managing the logistics, understanding the law and presenting the case properly to the court is fundamentally important to a successful outcome. Hiring an experienced Family Law attorney can be among the most important decisions that can be made.

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