The Role of the Family Court


There will be times when a familial issue may require the assistance of a Family or Supreme Court hearing and often times, it’s not clear as to what the disparities between the two may be. Fortunately, there are clear differences between the two – divorces are governed by the Supreme Courts of the State of New York, while the Family Court system deals with many different domestic concerns, which range from adoption to child abuse.

Family Courts in New York State will handle adoptive care cases, which are broken down to two types: Private placement and Agency. Private placement occurs when there’s an agreement between the two natural parents and the person(s) who wish(es) to adopt the child; it is up to the Court to approve of the adoptive parent(s). In the case of Agency adoption, this occurs when the biological parent’s rights to the child have been terminated, leaving the child’s care to an agency.

A trial on the subject of child abuse is also taken up by the New York State’s Family Court. This occurs when a child protective agency files a petition asking the Family Court to help protect a child under the age of 18 who may have been abused and/or neglected or is in danger of abuse.

Another subject taken up by the Family Court is juvenile delinquency. Action is taken when a child between the age of seven and 16 years old commits an act that would be a crime if committed by an adult. This child will be found as a “juvenile delinquent.” If teenagers at the age of 13-15 commit a more serious violent act, they may be trialed as an adult.

A major issue taken up by the New York State Family Court is child support. Both parents are 100% responsible for the financial support of their child(ren), based on their income, and this support is entitled to the child(ren) until 21 years of age. A trial may be held if a parent refuses to financially support their child.

The New York State Family Court deals with other issues, including domestic violence, persons in need of supervision, guardianship, and foster care. So while at first glance, the differences between a Supreme and Family Court may not be obvious, it’s clear how crucial Family Courts are once you take a deeper look.

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