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Suffolk County Family Court Jurisdiction


CASES UNDER JURISDICTION OF FAMILY COURT

Neglect & Abuse | Juvenile Delinquency/Designated Felonies | Persons in Need of Supervision | Adoption | Guardianship | Foster Care | Family Offense (Order of Protection) | Custody & Visitation | Paternity | Support Matters (Child & Spousal) | Consent to Marry | Juvenile Drug Court | Family Treatment Court

 

Neglect & Abuse
This article is designed to establish procedures to help protect children from injury or mistreatment and to help safeguard their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It is designed to provide due process of law for determining when the state, through its family court, may intervene against the wishes of a parent on behalf of a child so that his needs are properly met.


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Juvenile Delinquency (Article 3, Family Court Act)
The purpose of this article is to establish procedures in accordance with due process of law (a) to determine whether a person is a juvenile delinquent and (b) to issue an appropriate order of disposition for any person who is deemed a juvenile delinquent. In any proceeding under this article, the court shall consider the needs and best interests of the respondent as well as the need for the protection of the community.”

As used in this article... “Juvenile Delinquent” means “a person over seven and less than sixteen years of age, who, having committed an act that would constitute a crime if committed by an adult, (a) is not criminally responsible for such conduct by reason of infancy, or (b) is the defendant in an action ordered removed from a Criminal Court to the Family Court pursuant to Article 725 of the criminal procedure law.”

Note: a Juvenile Delinquency petition may only be filed by an agency of the county or state.


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Persons in Need of Supervision


(Article 7, Family Court Act)

Persons in Need of Supervision - “A person less than eighteen years of age who does not attend school in accordance with the provisions of part one of article sixty-five of the education law or who is incorrigible, ungovernable, or habitually disobedient and beyond the lawful control of a parent or other person legally responsible for such child’s care, or other lawful authority, or who violates the provisions of section 221.05 of the penal law.”


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Adoption (Article 6, Family Court Act; Article 7, Domestic Relations Law)
The Family Court has original jurisdiction concurrent with the Surrogate’s Court over adoption proceedings under Article 7 of the domestic relations law.”

“Adoption is the legal proceeding whereby a person takes another person into the relation of a child and thereby acquires the rights and incurs the responsibilities of a parent in respect of such other person.”


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Guardianship (Article 6, Family Court Act)
The Family Court has like jurisdiction and authority as is now conferred on County and Surrogate's Courts as concerns the guardianship of the person of a minor. The provisions of the Surrogate’s Court procedure act shall apply to the extent the are applicable to guardianship of the person of a minor and do not conflict with the specific provisions of this act.


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Foster Care (Social Services Law)
A “foster child” is a child who has been placed in the custody and care of an authorized child-care agency for short-term or long-term care.


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Family Offense/Domestic Violence
[Order of Protection(Article 8, Family Court Act)]

The Family Court and the Criminal Courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction over any proceeding concerning acts which would constitute disorderly conduct, harassment in the first degree, harassment in the second degree, aggravated harassment in the second degree, sexual misconduct, forcible touching, sexual abuse in the third degree, sexual abuse in the second degree, criminal mischief, stalking in the first degree, stalking in the second degree, stalking in the third degree, stalking in the fourth degree, menacing in the second degree, menacing in the third degree, reckless endangerment, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, strangulation in the second degree, strangulation in the first degree, assault in the second degree, assault in the third degree or an attempted assault between spouses or former spouses, or between parent and child or between members of the same family or household * except that if the respondent would not be criminally responsible by reason of age pursuant to section 30.00 of the penal law, then the Family Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction over such proceeding. Notwithstanding a complainant’s election to proceed in a Family Court, the Criminal Court shall not be divested of jurisdiction to hear a family offense proceeding pursuant to this section. For purposes of this article, “disorderly conduct” includes disorderly conduct not in a public place.

* Members of the same family or household small mean:

  • persons related by consanguinity or affinity
  • persons legally married to one another
  • persons formerly married to one another regardless of whether they still reside in the same household
  • persons who have a child in common regardless of whether such persons have been married or have lived together at any time
  • persons who are or were in an intimate relationship


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Custody and Visitation
(Article 6, Part 3, Family Court Act)

a) “When referred from the Supreme Court or County Court to the Family Court, the Family Court has jurisdiction to determine, in accordance with subdivision one of section two hundred forty of the domestic relations law and with the same powers possessed by the Supreme Court in addition to its own powers, habeas corpus proceedings and proceedings brought by petition and order to show cause, for the determination of custody or visitation of minors.”

(b) “When initiated in the Family Court, the Family Court has jurisdiction to determine, in accordance with subdivision one of section two hundred forty of the domestic relations law and with the same powers possessed by the Supreme Court in addition to its own powers, habeas corpus proceedings brought by petition and order to show cause, for the determination of the custody or visitation of minors, including application by a grandparent or grandparents for visitation or custody rights pursuant to section seventy-two or two hundred forty of the domestic relations law.”

(c) “When initiated in the Family Court pursuant to a petition under part eight of article ten of this act or section three hundred fifty-eight of the social services law, the Family Court has jurisdiction to enforce or modify orders or judgements of the Supreme Court relating to the visitation of minors in foster care, notwithstanding any limitation contained in subdivision (b) of section four hundred sixty-seven of this act.”


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Paternity (Article 5, Family Court Act)
Except where otherwise provided, the Family Court has exclusive original jurisdiction in proceedings to establish paternity and, in any such proceedings in which it makes a finding of paternity, to order support and to make orders of custody or of visitation.


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Support (Article 4, Family Court Act)
The Family Court has exclusive original jurisdiction over proceedings for support or maintenance under this article and in proceedings under article 5-B of this act, known as the uniform interstate family support act.”

“A married person is chargeable with the support of his or her spouse and, if possessed of sufficient means or able to earn such means, may be required to pay for his or her support a fair and reasonable sum, as the court may determine, have due regard to the circumstances of the respective parties.”

“Except as provided in subdivision two of this section, the parents of a child under the age of twenty-one years are chargeable with the support of such child and, if possessed of sufficient means or able to earn such means, shall be required to pay for child support a fair and reasonable sum as the court may determine.”

“Child support shall mean a sum to be paid pursuant to court order or decree by either or both parents or pursuant to a valid agreement between the parties for care, maintenance, and education of any unemancipated child under the age of twenty-one years.”


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Consent to Marry (Domestic Relations Law)
The Family Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Supreme Court over applications for the marriage of a minor less than sixteen years of age. In New York State, a person eighteen years old or older is considered an adult for the purpose of marriage. A person between sixteen and eighteen years of age must have the consent of a parent to apply for a marriage license, and a person under the age of sixteen must additionally apply to the Family Court or Supreme Court for permission to marry.

A person submitting a marriage application to the Family Court must do so in the same county that would issue the marriage license.

Victim safety is one of the primary goals of the IDV Court. Each IDV Court should facilitate a victim's immediate access to victim advocates who can provide safety planning, counseling, and access to a multitude of social services.


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Juvenile Drug Court - An Overview
(Program Director: 631-853-6130)

The Suffolk County Family Court Juvenile Treatment court is a non-traditional forum for the disposition of certain juvenile delinquency, and person in need of supervision (PINS) proceedings, wherein the substance use/abuse appears to be a significant factor in the negative behavior of juveniles. The Juvenile Treatment Court concentrates upon participants’ need for substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation, without compromising the concern for community safety and the underlying goals of eliminating offensive or criminal behavior by the juvenile, and improving his or her social relationships.

The court involves a large number of juveniles between the age of 11 and 18, and their families. The Juvenile Treatment Court currently has [3] three tracks which are geared toward eliminating the use of illegal substances, changing the juvenile’s behavior from negative to positive, reducing recidivism, improving academic performance and all relationships of the Juvenile Treatment Court participant. The age of the juvenile, the significance of substance use history, nature of offense, and the academic needs of familial structure are taken into consideration when making the determination of what track the juvenile and family are assigned. The program is geared to have the participant obtain a minimum of nine months to [1] one year of sobriety and achieve excellence in their academic performance. These goals are achieved by early and swift court intervention, the thoughtful development of an appropriate and custom-built treatment plan, intensive judicial and extra-judicial supervision, regular and frequent status review and monitoring, random drug testing and a system of rewards and sanctions, and through the hard work of the juvenile and his (or her) family.

The program itself is modeled after several successful treatment courts operating in different states and was established after intensive education and training by the Department of Justice’s Treatment Court Program Office.

 


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Family Treatment Court - An Overview
(Program Director: 631-853-6130)

The Suffolk County Family Treatment Court is located in the Cohalan Court Complex and provides enhanced services to parents who have been found neglectful of their children as a result of alcohol and/or substance abuse. The Family Treatment Court ensures the safety and well-being of children, and is committed to enabling children to live in a nurturing, safe, and stable environment. Employing a strength based program, the Family Treatment Court affirms the dignity of the individual while respecting the integrity of the family.

The Family Treatment Court has created working partnerships with community based substance abuse and mental health treatment providers; including the Department of Social Services, Department of Health, and EAC (Education and Assistance Corp). These community based agencies provide services to participants through group, individual, and family counseling sessions. Participants are monitored through weekly judicial judicial supervision and the support services of a case manager. EAC and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) workers provide enhanced monitoring of children, with increased attention to their needs. CASA workers additionally ensure that children who are away from a parent live in a loving and stable environment. The Family Treatment Court has had a positive effect over hundreds of families within the last decade.

Resources:
www.oasas.state.ny.us (For treatment)
www.drugfree.org (Partnership for a Drug-Free America)
www.responsehotline.org (Teen Hotline)