How are divorce and family law cases done in Suffolk County, New York?

Every location has different particularities that make handling family law and divorce cases somewhat different from County to County.   The Domestic Relations Laws and Family Court Act is the same for everyone in New York, but different rules and procedures might apply from Judge to Judge, courtroom to courtroom, and certainly from venue to venue. I handle cases all around the New York City area including Nassau and Suffolk County Long Island. I started my family law practice some years ago as a Suffolk County Family Law Attorney. My office is in Jericho, New York, where I work as a divorce mediator, litigator, and collaborative law lawyer. However, I reside in Suffolk County and enjoy the convenience and familiarity of handling cases in the Suffolk County courts. I have handled more Suffolk County cases than any other location. The purpose of this blog article is to relay information about family law and matrimonial cases in the Suffolk County Supreme Court and Suffolk County Family courts.

As I handle Nassau County, Queens, and New York City cases in addition to Suffolk County, I have seen some of the nuances of each area.  At times there is a choice of venue to file the case if the parties reside in different counties. Divorces may be filed in any county chosen by the Plaintiff, and as long as venue is not contested by either side, the case can be resolved in that County, provided New York State otherwise has jurisdiction.   A specific County might be selected as they are in the position to better expedite granting the divorce than a different venue. There are often considerations about whether to file a case in the Family Court or Supreme Court because the Suffolk County Family Court and Suffolk County Supreme Court in most instances have concurrent jurisdiction, after a divorce, to hear ongoing issues about child custody, child support, parenting time, and maintenance.

Divorces are handled in the Supreme Courts of the various New York Counties. Usually depending on the residences of the parties, a divorce filed in Suffolk County Supreme Court is either assigned to be heard at the court in Central Islip, New York or Riverhead, New York. The addresses are 400 Carleton Avenue Central Islip, NY 11772 and 235 Griffing Avenue Riverhead, NY 11901. Post judgment divorce issues may also be filed and handled at the Suffolk County Supreme Court. Cases are assigned to Supreme Court Justices that are elected Judges, however, the parties can agree for the case, or one of the issues in the case, to be heard by a Judicial Hearing Officer for different reasons such as to expedite the time frame of resolution. Mediation services can be ordered, usually only by agreement, for which the parties need to pay. Since I am a Suffolk County resident, I enjoy the convenience of appearances in Suffolk County Courts.
Divorces, post judgment divorce issues, and separations proceedings, are the predominant types of cases we handle at the Suffolk County Supreme Court.  Divorce cases can be started by purchasing an index number at the Suffolk County Clerk’s office in Riverhead, NY or at the clerk’s window at the Suffolk County Supreme Court in Central Islip. All the filed papers for Suffolk County Supreme Court cases are stored at the Suffolk County Clerk’s office which is located at One Court Street Riverhead, New York.

Family law cases are also heard at the Suffolk County Family Court which, likewise, has a Central Islip, New York and Riverhead location. The Family Court is at the Cohalan Court Complex at 400 Carleton Avenue Central Islip, New York in the same building as the Supreme Court and District Court. The more eastern address is 889 E. Main Street #308 Riverhead, NY 11901.   Most family law matters concerning kids may be heard at the Suffolk County Family Court except for marriage dissolutions (divorce, annulments, separations) which belong at the Suffolk County Supreme Court.   Cases handled at the Suffolk Family Court are: child custody and parenting time (visitation); family offense or order of protection hild support; paternity cases; order of protection cases against family members (family offense proceedings); adoption; guardianship cases; juvenile delinquency proceedings; spousal support; child abuse; child neglect; and termination of parental rights cases are all handled at the Suffolk County Family Court.

I was admitted to the New York State bar in 1999 and worked at a few different Long Island and New York City firms before I opened my own firm in 2005. I focus on matrimonial and family law cases whether through litigation, mediation, or collaborative law. I have handled civil matters, misdemeanors and landlord/tenants matters in the Suffolk County District Court in Central Islip, New York and various other courthouses in Western and Eastern Suffolk County. Suffolk County has district courthouses in Babylon, Brookhaven, Huntington, Islip, Smithtown, Hauppauge, Huntington Station, Lindenhurst, Patchogue, and Ronkonkoma as well as Village Courts all around the county, many of which I have appeared in. I have represented defendants with felony charges both in Central Islip, New York and also in Riverhead, New York.

Please click around the blog and my website for more information about your specific questions, or give my office a call. It would be our pleasure to speak with you about the case.

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