There are various resources out there free on the internet which are useful in practicing New York family law. The New York statutes are one of the most important sources of information and are located in different places on the internet. As a Long Island Divorce Lawyer, family law attorney and mediator, I pay for services where I have access to statutes, cases and public records information that enhance my ability to search for information. But, there are also a lot of areas on the internet where there is helpful free information.
One convenient place to find statutes for the various New York laws is the Cornell Law website. The Domestic Relations Law is controlling for matrimonial practice in the New York Supreme Court. The Family Court Act controls for practice in the Family Court. The Civil Practice Law and Rules contains rules about the dynamics on procedure such as the filing and service of cases, rules of evidence in civil cases, the making of motions and discovery procedures just to name a few areas this law controls. This website is also a good source to locate legal professionals who practice specific areas of law in various geographies. Case decisions for New York matters may also be found through this website. There are links to published decisions for New York and other jurisdictions on this site.
Another huge resource for family law and all other areas of practice in New York court is the court website located at nycourts.gov. This site also has links to find published decisions for case law in New York. There is a large volume of information, tools and forms on this website which are invaluable for lawyers and litigants alike. I’ll spend the rest of this article highlighting just some of these that I find important.
E-courts, located towards the top of the court website is one of my most used tools. I regularly click on here to find out: when future court dates are scheduled and what they are scheduled for, who the other lawyers might be on a case, to which courtroom the case is assigned, and the appearance history of a case among other reasons. After clicking on e-courts I would click on “WebCivil Supreme” to find out about Supreme Court cases such as for divorce or post judgment divorce matters. I click on “Webfamily” to find out about family court cases such as for: child support; child custody; family offenses (order of protection cases); neglect, abuse or termination of parental rights matters.
There are very informative child support and temporary maintenance tools that can be located on this site as well that will tell someone what the guideline dollar amounts are for various incomes. Two of them that come into play often in matrimonial and family law matters are the child support guideline spread sheet and the temporary maintenance calculator (aka alimony). To locate them, I go to the home page of the site and type in either “maintenance calculator” for the temporary maintenance guidelines or child support calculator for the spread sheet that contains the presumptive amount of child support.
Another huge resource on the site are forms that can be filled in and used in practice. The different forms can be located by clicking on “Forms” which is located towards the middle left on the home page of the site. Next I click “Family Court” under Statewide Forms for child support and spousal support, child custody, family offense (orders of protection cases), adoption and other family court materials. There are forms useful for petitions, drafting proposed court orders, financial disclosure affidavits, and motions to name a few. I click on “Divorce Forms” on this same page to find similar information for my Supreme Court cases. All the various forms (and there a lot) that are needed to finalize a settled divorce case can be found there. These forms are need whether it was uncontested from the beginning or settled after some litigation and/or negotiation. Mediated cases, litigated cases, collaborative law cases, uncontested cases, or cases decided after a trial all must eventually fill out the forms which are included under the category of the uncontested divorce forms.
There is no substitute for the representation of an experienced attorney in utilizing these forms. But, to help your attorney, gathering the information that these forms require is always helpful. Navigating these forms oneself, without the help of a lawyer, is in most cases a very time consuming, frustrating, and daunting experience.
There are many more free resources on these aforementioned sits and throughout the internet. Another free resource my office offers is an initial consultation, my website, and blog. Please click around the blog and site to learn more. Call my office about your free consultation. I would take great pleasure in speaking with you.