Families & Children

In New York State, cases involving children and families are usually handled in Family Court or in Supreme Court.

The court can make decisions over a wide range of cases including child abuse and neglect, adoption, custody and visitation, domestic violence, guardianship, juvenile delinquency, paternity, person in need of supervision, and support.

Adoption is the creation of a new and legal parent and child relationship. Adoption cases are filed in either Family Court or Surrogate's Court.

When a parent has custody of a child, they have the right to make important decisions for the child and is responsible for the actual physical care and supervision of the child.

When a parent doesn't have custody of a child the Family Court can order visitation. The court can make orders about visitation until the child turns 18 years old.

Child support and spousal support are court ordered payments from Family Court. Parents must support a child until the age of 21 and married people must support each other for as long as they are married. A parent or other legally responsible adult relative can file a petition in Family Court for the support of a developmentally disabled adult dependent between the age of 21 and 25.

Paternity means that a man is a child's biological father and he has the legal right to custody and visitation and is responsible for paying child support.

Crimes Committed by Children
Starting at age seven, children can go to court if they commit a crime. Where the case is tried and how the child is punished depends on the child’s age, intent and past record.

Divorce is the legal end of a marriage. Divorce cases are filed in Supreme Court.


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