This article is meant to provide some background about divorce and family law matters in the New York City borough of Queens, New York. As mentioned in prior blog entries, although the statutes are the same for everyone in New York State, there are different rules and procedures that change from County to County and even court room to court room. New York is made up of four Appellate Divisions. Queens County happens to be located in what is called the Second Judicial Department and therefore the case law coming out of the Second Department is controlling for Queens County divorce and family law cases. The New York Court of Appeals is the highest court in New York. Therefore, case law from the New York Court of Appeals is controlling on Queens County as well as everywhere else in the State. Decisions from the three other judicial departments would be influential if the Second Department has not directly ruled on the matter. Although I practice all around the Long Island and New York City area, which includes both the First and Second Judicial Departments, my office and most of my cases are from areas located within the Second Judicial Department. This familiarity is helpful in my practice as a Queens County Family Law attorney.
Throughout my legal career, I have handled a great deal of cases in Queens County. Since my office is Nassau County, New York, conveniently bordering Queens, it is a short ride to the courts in Queens. Besides Nassau County, Queens and Suffolk are my highest volume geographic areas at this time. First I will discuss the Queens County Supreme Court, followed by information about the Queens County Family court.
Like everywhere else in New York, a person that wants to file a divorce case in Queens needs to use the Supreme Court. The Queens County Supreme Court is located at 88-11 Sutphin Boulevard Jamaica, New York 11435. Issues that arise for couples after a divorce (post-judgment) can be filed and dealt with at the Queens County Supreme Court. Supreme Court Justices are assigned cases that are filed in the Queens Supreme Court. Justices are elected Judges, but, Judicial Hearing Officers (who are usually former judges) may be assigned for trials or a hearing on one or all of the issues. The consent of the parties is usually obtained before sending it to a Judicial Hearing Officer since everyone has the right to have their cases heard in front of a Judge. In Queens, like every other County in New York, incidentally the only issues in a divorce that would go in front of a jury would be a grounds trial. Everything else would be decided by the Judge or a Queens Supreme Court Justice. Grounds trials, particularly, jury grounds trials are rare but they are a possibility. Continue reading →