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Filing a Case In a New York Family Law Court

New York’s Family Court provides a way for litigants to address issues regarding issues of custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, orders of protection, guardianship, and grandparents’ rights.  Because the Family Court is generally staffed with personnel to assist parties when they wish to file most cases, litigants often go to Court to file paperwork without having first consulted with an attorney.

Prior to filing a case in Family Court, you should consider discussing your case with an experienced family law attorney.  In discussing your case, an experienced practitioner can guide you in the appropriate manner by which to commence your case.  While the Family Court can assist you in preparing your petition, an experienced family law practitioner can prepare the paperwork for you, and handle the filing, service, and prosecution of your case.  Moreover, an experienced family law practitioner can usually better weave through the maze of procedure and bureaucracy that exists in a large institution like the Family Court.

Family Law Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is family court?

A family court is a type of civil court that hears family law cases. Family courts have a limited jurisdiction and are governed by local and state laws. Typical family court cases involve divorce, child custody, child support, adoption, domestic violence, alimony and juvenile issues. Like a regular court, a judge decides on how to resolve the issues.

2. When is family court used?

Family court is reserved for issues that require a decision from a judge because they cannot be resolved outside of court. Family court is used in cases that do not involve criminal law. For example, if a domestic violence case involves assault, then it would be transferred to a criminal court.

Whether you are anticipating the joys of adoption or experiencing the frustrations of marital conflict, Theodore Alatsas ESQ can help. I have served families in the Brooklyn area for 20 years. I provide legal services in all areas of family law, including:


Through mediation or litigation, my firm can help you gain the most equitable results from your divorce, including fair distribution of assets, division of marital home, child support payments, and child custody rights.


Divorce should not lead to financial crises. I help you establish an equitable amount of spousal support.

Child Support Modification and Enforcement

I can help ensure that you receive or pay an equitable amount of the financial support required to raise your children in a healthy, happy environment. Child support payments do not change unless the court modifies the child support order. If either the custodial or noncustodial parent experiences a significant change in circumstances, I can guide you through the proper legal procedures to modify your child support payments accordingly.


Mediation puts the decisions in your hands, and can often provide more expedient, predictable results than a trial. I can help you obtain the most equitable divorce settlement.

Child Custody and Visitation

I protect your parental rights to raise your children in an appropriate and supportive home.


I assist families with all aspects of international and domestic adoptions. I handle the legalities of your adoption so that you can concentrate on your new family.

Pre- and Post-Nuptial Agreements

I expect the unexpected and draft premarital agreements that protect both spouses’ interests and that can alleviate some of the stress should you ever divorce.

All Other Family Law Services:

Juvenile Delinquency and Dependency Proceedings

I am skilled at maneuvering through the complex laws of New York to protect your parental rights from the interference of government authorities.

 Juvenile Delinquency and Dependency Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is juvenile delinquency?

Juvenile delinquency refers to minors engaging in illegal activities. A juvenile delinquent is typically referred to as someone under the age of 18, although in some states, such as New York, the age limit is 17. Juvenile delinquency is also known as teenage crime because teens are the ones who tend to commit crimes that fall under this category.

2. What are the consequences of juvenile delinquency?

A juvenile convicted of a crime may be punished in several ways. He or she may be confined in juvenile hall or placed under house arrest. The juvenile may be given a verbal warning or probation, forced to pay fines, or required to attend counseling or perform community service.

3. What is juvenile dependency?

Juvenile dependency refers to a child coming to court and claiming that his parents have abused or neglected him. When this happens, the child may be appointed a social worker who will make sure he is safe. The juvenile court may have the child live with other relatives or a foster family until his home is healthy and safe.

4. What is the difference between juvenile delinquency and juvenile dependency?

Juvenile delinquency refers to a minor committing crimes and facing punishment for his or her wrongdoing, while juvenile dependency involves a child living in an unsafe environment. A juvenile delinquent can live in a normal home, and a juvenile dependency case does not usually involve crimes committed by a child. They are two very different terms.

5. Types of juvenile delinquency

Juveniles tend to commit many of the same crimes as adults, but to a lesser degree. The most common crime is theft, which typically involves shoplifting or stealing bikes and other possessions from other children. Vandalism, such as graffiti and keying cars, is also common. Underage possession and consumption of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana is another common offense. Other common crimes include disorderly conduct, traffic violations and trespassing.

Contact a Dedicated Brooklyn Family Law Attorney

Call Theodore Alatsas ESQ at 718-233-2903 or contact me online to schedule a consultation with a family law attorney at my Brooklyn, New York office.