Can You Represent Yourself in New York Family Court?
Family Court in New York handles petitions to modify custody, visitation and child support orders established during divorce proceedings in the state Supreme Court. In addition, unmarried parents go to Family Court when seeking to establish support obligations and custody rights.
Though you have the right to initiate and proceed through a case in Family Court without an attorney, doing so could cost you significantly. The orders handed down by a Family Court magistrate will have a lasting impact on your rights to spend time with your child and the amount you will pay or receive to support your child’s upbringing. Consider that children in New York are entitled to financial support from both parents until they turn 21 or are legally emancipated, so a court order entered during your child’s youth will affect your family for years.
With your child’s well-being and your parental rights on the line, you owe it to yourself to hire an experienced legal professional who knows how to build an evidence-backed case while avoiding the types of mistakes that could endanger your chances of achieving a desired outcome. During courtroom questioning, a lawyer can analyze witness statements and ask follow-up questions promptly and strategically. If you represent yourself, you may miss the chance to recognize mistakes or unfair tactics from the other side. You will not have the benefit of being questioned by your own lawyer, and you may not be able to submit evidence. Family lawyers are also skilled at negotiating settlements outside of court, knowing what to demand and when to relent to achieve a just compromise.
The State of New York is legally required to provide a lawyer for any Family Court litigant who cannot otherwise afford representation if the case involves child custody or visitation, paternity, alleged abuse, domestic violence, termination of parental rights or certain other issues.
Before you decide to represent yourself in a Family Court of Suffolk County, take the opportunity to speak with a legal professional at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. From our office in Melville, New York, our attorneys assert the rights of Long Island parents who are dealing with complex family law issues of all kinds. To learn more about how we can help with child custody or child support, schedule your free initial consultation with our team. Call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online to request an appointment time that works for you.