New York Family Court

The Family Court of the State of New York is a specialized court of the New York State Unified Court System located in each county of the state.[1][2][3] The New York City Family Court is the name given to the state Family Court within New York City.

Family Court of the State of New York
Court overview
FormedSeptember 1, 1962 (1962-09-01)
JurisdictionNew York
Court executives
  • Fern Fisher, deputy chief administrative judge
  • Michael Coccoma, deputy chief administrative judge
Parent departmentNew York State Unified Court System
Key document


It is a family court that hears cases involving children and families and handles issues such as child abuse and neglect (child protection), adoption, child custody and visitation, domestic violence, guardianship, juvenile delinquency, paternity, persons in need of supervision (PINS), and child support.[4] In New York City, it has concurrent jurisdiction with the New York City Criminal Court for family offenses (domestic violence).[citation needed]

The Family Court building in Manhattan

Family Court does not have jurisdiction over divorces, which must be litigated in the Supreme Court, and although Criminal Court domestic violence parts typically hear all cases involving crimes against intimate partners (whether opposite- or same-sex), New York law defines family offenses to include only those related by blood, actual marriage (common law marriage is not recognized in New York), or a child in common.[citation needed]


In the New York City Family Court (the "Family Court of the State of New York within the City of New York"), judges are appointed by the Mayor to ten-year terms; elsewhere they are elected to ten-year terms.[1] There are 47 judges in the New York City Family Court.[5]

In 1939, Justice Jane Bolin became the first black female judge in the United States when Mayor Fiorello La Guardia swore her in to the bench of the Family Court, then called the Domestic Relations Court.[citation needed] Her 10-year appointment was renewed by the city's mayors three times until she reached the mandatory retirement age of 70.[citation needed]


The Children's Court of the City of New York was a state court that opened on September 15, 1924 from a previous children's court part of the New York City court of special sessions created in 1915 (itself from a 1902 children's court division of the New York County court of general sessions), and was consolidated into the Domestic Relations Court of the City of New York created on October 1, 1933.[6][7] Similar children's courts were authorized throughout the state by constitutional referendum in 1921 followed by statute in 1922.[8] In 1962 the Family Court replaced these courts after a 1961 constitutional amendment.[9]


  1. ^ a b Constitution of the State of New York Article VI, § 13
  2. ^ Family Court Act § 113
  3. ^ New York City Bar Association 2012, pp. 3-5.
  4. ^ New York City Bar Association 2012, p. 1.
  5. ^ Glaberson, William (March 28, 2012). "For Top Judge, Tough Lessons on Family Court Bench". The New York Times.
  6. ^ New York City Children's Court Act (L.1924, c.254)
  7. ^ New York City Domestic Relations Court Act (Chapter 482, Laws 1933)
  8. ^ Children's Court Act (L.1922, c.547)
  9. ^ Family Court Act (L. 1962, ch. 686)


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