Family Court

The Family Court Division is the second largest and only prosecutorial division at the Law Department.  The Division plays a critical role in promoting the well-being of the City's children, families and communities and protecting the general public.   The Division is responsible for members of our staff and work done in 30 locations across NYC.  Our work is constant because it affects lives, and we work 365 days and nights a year handling all night, weekend and holiday intake at Criminal Court in Manhattan.  Our Mission is two-fold: Juvenile Justice and Interstate/International Child Support. You can read more about the Family Court Division on the Division's website.

Juvenile Justice

Pursuant to law, the Division is the prosecuting agency in Juvenile delinquency matters.  These cases involve These cases involve youth ages 12 to 17  who have been arrested for conduct that would constitute a crime if they were adults, including those cases that have been removed from the Youth Part to the Family Court.  Division staff investigate juvenile delinquency matters that are referred to the office by the Department of Probation.  After an investigation, a decision is made as to whether a case must be declined and sealed due to a lack of admissible evidence; whether a case is appropriate for diversion services; or whether the case is appropriate for filing in Court.  To file a case in Family Court, the law requires a verified petition based on non-hearsay allegations.  

In prosecuting juvenile delinquency, the Family Court seeks to ensure that those youth who commit delinquent acts are held accountable for their misconduct and receive appropriate services. The Family Court system is focused on rehabilitation. The Law Department seeks to balance the need for protection of the community with the needs and the best interests of the youth. The Division's work also includes providing information to victims of youth crime on available community-based services, including counseling, crisis intervention, and safety planning.

Interstate/International Child Support

Attorneys appear on behalf of out-of-state as well as international custodial parent petitioners who are seeking to establish paternity and obtain child support from New York City residents. These cases are referred to the county Family Courts by the NYS Child Support Processing Center Interstate Central Support Registry; and then to our office by the county Family Courts.  

Attorneys in the Family Court Division's Interstate/International Child Support Unit primarily handle child support petitions filed under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) by out-of-state jurisdictions or custodial parents residing in other states, U.S. Commonwealths, and many foreign countries. Staff also assist many New York City residents in obtaining paternity and child support orders.

Our Division also assists NYC residents, and a custodial parent who lives in New York City may seek the Unit's assistance in filing for child support from parents who live outside the state and the country.  Information regarding this service can be found at

What New Attorneys Do

New attorneys primarily handle juvenile justice matters; although all attorneys are cross-trained in the work of both areas of our practice.  The Family Court Division is ideal for attorneys with a passion for public service and for working with and for members of the communities we serve. First-year attorneys in the Family Court Division’s Juvenile Delinquency Unit carry a caseload and are responsible for all aspects of the practice. This includes community outreach and engagement, case investigation, motion practice, conducting extensive discovery, and courtroom litigation including pre-trial hearings, trials and dispositional hearings. The Division has offices in each of the five boroughs and new attorneys will be assigned to one office. First-year attorneys also join their colleagues in the Division’s Weekend, Holiday Evening Court Program to which they are assigned for a four-month rotation.

What Summer Interns Do

Summer Interns handle juvenile justice matters; although all interns are cross-trained in the work of both areas of our practice. Interns in the Family Court Division will work with attorneys to investigate cases. Interns will conduct interviews with complainants and law enforcement personnel with the goal of drafting accusatory petitions, and may appear in Family Court to conduct pre-petition detention hearings (where a decision is made whether to hold the accused in custody pending the outcome of the case), arraignments, court conferences, and dispositional hearings (where the court determines the appropriate outcome or services to be provided). Interns may also assist attorneys with evidence suppression hearings and fact-finding hearings (at which guilt or innocence is established). Interns can argue on the record in Family Court, under the supervision of an attorney, pursuant to a student practice order. The Division has offices in each of the five boroughs and interns will be assigned to one office.

Read the Law Department's Annual Reports for More Information about the Family Court Division