Family Court Overview

Family Court Overview

There are various situations within life where you may find yourself in need of guidance and judgment that can only be delivered by your local family court. Regardless of the circumstances that may lead to your personal circumstances, it's worth noting that presenting your case in a court setting can make even the most courageous of people feel anxious. As an experienced divorce and family lawyer, Mr. Darren M. Shapiro Esq. has spent a significant amount of time working within Family Courts, to help individuals across Long Island, New York City and the surrounding areas present their cases as effectively as possible. His extensive experience and professional knowledge ensure that Mr. Shapiro can put his client's minds at rest by discussing the nuances of a family court situation with them ahead of time.

Typically, family courts deal with matters relating to family law, such as when dealing with visitation (now known as parenting time) and child custody, support matters, orders of protection (Family Offense proceedings), juvenile delinquency cases, adoptions, cases of abuse and neglect, termination of parental rights and PINS (Person In Need of Supervision). In New York, the family court does not deal with matters of divorce, nor does it manage matters of equitable distribution regarding property claims and marital assets.

Though Mr. Darren Shapiro, as your family lawyer, may have a trial or hearing presided over by a judge, support magistrates must listen to paternity, child, or spousal support cases. On the other hand, individuals known as "court attorney referees" can hear cases regarding orders of protection, custody, visitation, and certain matters concerning foster care. Visitation and custody matters can also be heard by judicial hearing officers, alongside adoption cases, some issues of family offense, and matters regarding voluntary placement for foster care. Notably, within a family setting, there is no jury - and all magistrates that deal with Family Court proceedings will have undertaken specialist extensive training before handling any case.

Individuals who make the decision to represent themselves in regards to filing and preparing court papers, petitions and motions can find some assistance in the probation department or office of the self-represented. The office of the self-represented can offer some legal information to those in need, but unlike a professional attorney like Mr. Shapiro, they cannot offer guidance and legal advice. Most Family Court offices remain open every day from Monday to Friday, except for on national holidays. Though the hearing rooms may close for lunch, the building itself will continue to be open to the public.

Throughout Long Island and New York City, every County has a specified Family Court, including: Nassau County, Queens County, Suffolk County, Staten Island (Richmond County), the Bronx, and Brooklyn (Kings County). Most people will find that they can file an initial case without charge in the residence county of at least one party involved in the case. If you find yourself managing an issue that requires you to appear in Family Court, you will receive a summons that asks you to visit your local court at a certain time, on a certain date. Should this happen, you will be expected to arrive on time, and Mr. Shapiro advises his clients to enter the Family Court with time to spare, rather than run the risk of being late. The calendars for Family Courts across Long Island and New York are typically very busy. If you area early to the courthouse, or even if you're right on time, you may find that dealing with your case is an issue that takes the entire day.

If you, or the other party involved with your case does not arrive at the court for their allotted time, or is marked as being absent when the referee, judge, or support magistrate is ready to hear your case, then the proceedings could start without you, or the other party. In some circumstances, the case may actually be determined despite the missing presence of the absent party. On the other hand, if the petitioner in question has not arrived for their allotted time, then the judge could choose to dismiss the case completely.

Once your case has progressed to the point that a final decision can be made, and that decision is recorded in writing, each party will be entitled to a copy of the written determination. The documentation that you will receive is known as a "final order", and will only be given to people specifically involved within a case - including the lawyers of the relevant parties. Those who wish to get a copy of their order will be able to go to the Record Room of the courthouse or wait inside the courtroom itself for a copy to be issued. Proof of Identity will be required for people who wish to obtain court records, as members of the public are not allowed to see records retained in Family Court cases that are not their own.

It's worth noting that both parties involved within any case will have the right to appeal the final order that is given by the court attorney, referee, or judge. Mr. Darren Shapiro offers assistance to clients presenting their case for the first time, as well as though who wish to create a formal appeal. Usually, the first step in contesting a decision by a support magistrate is a written objection, which will be reviewed by the Family Court Judge. If that objection does not yield beneficial results, an appeal may become necessary. In simple terms, an appeal requests for a higher court to consider the nuances of the case, and for a support magistrate's decision to be formally appealed, an objecting party must first file and serve their "objection" within family court. When an objection is filed, the parties involved could "win" before an appeal even becomes necessary, should the judge decide to overturn a decision.

The decision of a judge can be appealed with an Appellate division, and this can result in the final determination of a case being modified, reversed, or affirmed. In any situation, the complexity of family law, the appeal process, and the legal journey ensures that it is always important to have a professional attorney like Mr. Shapiro on hand to offer expert assistance. For more information about the Family Court, and family court proceedings, please reach out to us. If you would like to access Mr. Shapiro in your Family Court case, please contact us to schedule your free initial consultation - it would be our pleasure to speak with you.

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