Kings County Family Court
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The Kings County Family Court, located in downtown Brooklyn, handles a wide variety of family legal matters like divorce, child custody, child support, and domestic violence cases. Understanding how this court system works can help families navigate the often complex and emotional legal process.
Overview of the Kings County Family Court System | family court brooklyn
Kings County Family Court is part of the New York State Unified Court System. There are family courts in each county of New York that handle matters related to families and children. The types of cases include divorce, separation, annulment, custody and visitation, adoption, child abuse and neglect, juvenile delinquency, family offense petitions, and child and spousal support.
Family courts aim to protect the rights of all parties involved in a family dispute, especially vulnerable groups like children. The court provides services to help families resolve conflict through means other than litigation when appropriate. Family courts handle both civil and criminal matters.
see also Emery County Justice Court
Location and Jurisdiction of Kings County Family Court
The Kings County Family Court is located at 330 Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn. This court building houses over 20 family court judges and court staff members. The court has jurisdiction over family cases originating in Brooklyn (Kings County). If you live in Brooklyn and need to file any type of family law case, you would do so at this courthouse.
In addition to the main courthouse, Kings County Family Court has child support offices throughout Brooklyn to handle child support matters for families. There are also dedicated adolescent diversion courts for minors charged with juvenile delinquency.
Address and Contact Details
You can find Kings County Family Court at 330 Jay Street, Brooklyn 11201, in downtown Brooklyn. For inquiries, you can contact them at:
- Phone: 347-401-9610
- Fax: 347-401-9609
- Email: [email protected]
Map and Directions
If you’re planning to visit, it’s essential to know how to get there. The court provides detailed directions and a map to help you find your way.
The Kings County Family Court is fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This ensures accessibility for all court users, including individuals with disabilities. Everyone deserves equal access to justice.
Operating Hours and Security
The court operates from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with doors opening at 8:30 a.m. If you need to file petitions, remember that this service begins at 8:30 a.m. To ensure everyone’s safety, all visitors must pass through a magnetometer. Plan your visit accordingly to allow for security screening.
Public Transportation Options
Getting to the court is convenient, thanks to multiple public transportation options. You can take the R, M, G, A, F, C, 2, 3, 4, 5, B67, B41, B45, B63, B65, or B61 train or bus lines. The court is easily accessible via various subway and bus routes.
While parking options are limited, there is a municipal parking lot nearby. However, it’s recommended to use mass transit due to the limited parking availability.
For visitors with children, the court offers a Children’s Center on the 1st floor. It’s open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays.
The court understands the importance of effective communication. On-site interpreters are available for languages such as Spanish, Russian, and French-Creole. For all other languages, including sign language, interpreter services can be arranged upon request.
The Role of the Supervising Judge
Hon. Amanda White, the supervising judge of Kings County Family Court, plays a pivotal role in ensuring the court’s smooth operation. She presides over the court’s proceedings and helps uphold justice within the community.
The Role of the Clerk of Court
Ryan Darshan, the Clerk of Court, is responsible for administrative duties and supporting the court’s daily operations. His role is essential in maintaining efficiency.
Services Offered at Kings County Family Court
Kings County Family Court provides a range of services, including hearings, orders, and support for families in need. The court serves as a pillar of the community, addressing family matters with care and dedication.
Community Justice Center
The court is also home to the VCAN – Red Hook Community Justice Center, which plays a vital role in promoting community engagement and justice.
Child Protective/Permanency Planning Office
If you require assistance related to child protective services or permanency planning, the court’s office is there to provide guidance and support.
Courtroom Activity Office
For matters related to courtroom activity, including hearings and orders, you can contact the Courtroom Activity Office. They are available to assist you and provide necessary information.
Accessibility for Individuals with Disabilities
The Kings County Family Court proudly complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This ensures that all court users, including individuals with disabilities, have access to the services and accommodations they need.
Types of Cases Handled by Kings County Family Court
Kings County Family Court oversees legal matters involving:
- Divorce, separation, annulment
- Distribution of marital property and spousal support
- Child custody and visitation schedules
- Paternity testing and child support orders
- Adoptions and termination of parental rights
- Juvenile delinquency cases and Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS)
- Family offense petitions for orders of protection
- Child abuse and child neglect cases
The court generally does not handle criminal matters outside of juvenile crimes. Matrimonial matters like property division may be transferred to New York Supreme Court if they require a jury trial.
Going to Kings County Family Court
If you are involved in a family law dispute or case in Brooklyn, you will likely need to attend hearings and proceedings at Kings County Family Court. Here is what you need to know before going:
see also Worcester District Court
Knowing When You Need to Go to Family Court
You may need to go to Kings County Family Court if:
- You want to file for divorce or request child custody/support orders
- You have been accused of child abuse, neglect, or juvenile delinquency
- You need an order of protection against domestic violence
- Your spouse has filed a motion you must respond to
- You have a scheduled court date for a hearing or conference
- You have been subpoenaed as a witness in a family court case
Remember to bring all relevant documentation like petitions, affidavits, and evidence. Arrive early to go through security screening.
Getting Help and Advice Before Going to Court
The family court process can be confusing, so get legal advice and representation if possible. Contact legal aid organizations like The Legal Aid Society or New York Legal Assistance Group to see if you qualify for free legal services based on income eligibility. If not, hire a private family law attorney so you understand your rights.
You can also get help from volunteer lawyers at the Resource Center at the Kings County Family Court courthouse. Visit the Center before your scheduled court time.
What to Expect at the Courthouse
Kings County Family Court is a busy place. Arrive early and expect lines for the security checkpoint. You cannot bring weapons, sharp objects, or excessive amounts of cash or valuables. Cell phones are allowed. There is a children’s play area and day care services available.
There are separate petition and motion intake offices. Visit the Help Center for directions to the right courtroom for your hearing. Be prepared to wait – family court cases often take time and result in adjournments to future dates. Dress appropriately and conduct yourself respectfully.
The Family Court Process
Family court cases have several steps and stages that occur over multiple court appearances. Here is an overview:
Filing Petitions and Motions to Start a Case
To initiate a family court case, you need to complete the right forms and file them with the court clerk. Common examples include:
- Petition for divorce or separation
- Petition for custody and visitation
- Family offense petition for an order of protection
- Violation petitions if an order was disobeyed
There are fees for filing ranging from $45 – $210 depending on the type of petition. Fee waivers are available for low-income individuals.
Attending Hearings Before a Judge
After you file a petition, the court will schedule an initial hearing or conference before a judge. You will be notified by mail with the court date. Prepare what you will say and bring evidence and witnesses. Hearings can result in temporary orders and start the discovery process.
As the case continues, there may be additional conferences, pre-trial hearings, and status updates. It is important to attend all scheduled court dates. If you miss one, a default judgment could be entered against you.
Getting Investigations and Evaluations
For child-related petitions, the judge may order CPS or probation investigations to look into allegations and evaluate the fitness of each parent. Mental health evaluations, drug testing, or mediation may also be ordered. The results help the judge make a final ruling.
Reaching Settlements Through Mediation
Many family courts push parties towards resolving issues through mediation when possible. Mediation is voluntary, confidential, and may make trial unnecessary. Not all cases can be mediated, like those involving domestic violence.
If agreements are reached through mediation, the parties can enter into a legally binding separation agreement or stipulation that puts it in writing. This is submitted to the judge for approval.
Going Through a Trial if No Settlement Reached
If mediation fails and no settlement is reached, the case will go to trial before a judge. Both parties present evidence and testimony to support their claims. The judge will then make a final decision and issue orders accordingly.
Trials can take multiple days or weeks depending on complexity. Having an attorney to represent you at trial is highly recommended.
Kings County Family Court Services
The Kings County Family Court offers a range of resources and assistance for families going through the court process:
Help Centers and Resources at the Courthouse
Stop by the Resource Center or Child Care Center for legal referrals, social services support, safety planning, and child care while you attend court dates. There are also computer centers for electronic case filing.
Family Counseling and Mediation
The court provides free counseling services to parents to promote cooperation and shared parenting solutions. It also offers voluntary mediation through trained professionals to help settle disagreements out of court.
Services for Domestic Violence Victims
There is a designated Domestic Violence Intake Office at the courthouse for filing petitions. Support and advocacy services are also available onsite to assist victims and their children.
Resources for Low-Income Families
If you cannot afford an attorney, visit the Legal Aid office in Room 140 or speak to the Resource Center. You may qualify for free legal representation based on financial eligibility. Fee waivers are also available for qualifying individuals.
Conclusion and Key Takeaways
Going through the court process for family legal matters can be an emotional rollercoaster. Understanding how the Kings County Family Court system works is crucial to protecting your rights. Some key takeaways include:
- Get legal advice and representation if at all possible
- Be prepared with all necessary documentation for your court dates
- Follow court orders and attend all scheduled conferences, hearings, and evaluations
- Consider mediation as an alternative to prolonged litigation
- Use the resources available at the courthouse like the Help Centers
- Stay calm, patient, and focused on resolving issues in the best interest of any affected children
With the right support and approach, the family court process does not have to be overly daunting or adversarial. Protecting children and achieving fair outcomes for all parties involved should be the ultimate goal for families going through this court system.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the difference between Family Court and Supreme Court for divorce cases?
A: Family Court can handle divorces but cannot divide assets or award spousal support. For property and alimony, you need Supreme Court. Family Court is better for child-related issues like custody.
Q: Can I attend a hearing at Kings County Family Court without filing my own case?
A: Generally not, unless you have been subpoenaed as a witness or have permission from the judge. Courtrooms are closed to the general public.
Q: What kinds of cases cannot be heard in Kings County Family Court?
A: Criminal cases outside of juvenile delinquency cannot be heard. Also most property division and complex financial matters may get transferred to Supreme Court.
Q: What happens if I am running late for my family court hearing?
A: Contact the court clerk and your attorney immediately. The judge can start the hearing in your absence, which could hurt your case, so make every effort to be on time.
Q: Is mediation really better than going to trial in Family Court?
A: Mediation allows you to craft solutions and co-parenting plans rather than letting a judge make orders. It is usually faster and less adversarial if agreements can be reached. But it still results in legally enforceable outcomes.