Family Time

Family Law

There may be a bit of a confusion surrounding the fact that there are two different court houses for Family and Matrimonial cases. Although Supreme court deals with many aspects that Family court handles, such as support and custody of minor children, Supreme court handles these matters because they are directly associated with a specific divorce proceeding.  

Alternatively, Family court tackles all types of issues regarding family matters (in addition to Support and Custody) such areas include: Adoptions; Orders of Protection, Juvenile Delinquency matters; Paternity; Abuse and Neglect of a child (these cases usually involve Child Protective Services (CPS) and the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS)); Guardianship; and Grandparent rights.  It can be difficult to navigate the aspects of filing petitions to get your matter properly heard in Family Court.

We realize you are dealing with a sensitive matter. It is essential that you discuss your issue with a specialized Family Law attorney, who is trained in understanding the vital importance of your Family Law problem.    

Orders of Protection

Orders of Protection are brought by a Petition in either Family Court or Supreme Court by one party against another when the parties are related by marriage or blood or have an intimate relationship. The person requesting an Order of Protection must allege and eventually prove that the respondent committed a crime (“Family Offense”), which is enumerated or listed in the Family Court Act. The crimes that must be proven are disorderly conduct, harassment, sexual misconduct, forceable touching, sexual abuse in the third degree or second degree, stalking, criminal mischief, menacing, reckless endangerment, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, identity theft, grand larceny, and coercion.

If one of these crimes is proven, the petitioning party can receive a Refrain Order of Protection, which means that the party must not commit any of the above enumerated crimes, or a Stay Away Order of Protection may be granted, which requires that there be no contact between the parties.

Juvenile Delinquency

The State of New York considers a child to be a juvenile delinquent if they commit a crime and are at least 7 years of age and no older than 17 years of age. Misdemeanor crimes of a juvenile delinquent are heard and decided in a Family Court. A Juvenile will not be placed in jail, instead, the court will decide whether probation supervision in the community or a treatment center is best, and or the offender may be placed in a treatment center. Acts of Juvenile Delinquency are civil in nature and generally sealed from the public.