Family Court Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Is the Family Court the proper place to file?
The Family Court has exclusive and concurrent jurisdiction over many issues as detailed in the Family Court Act. If you are unsure if a matter is under the jurisdiction of the Family Court, you may call the General Clerks Office (631-740-3800).
What about questions involving divorce and/or separation?
Divorce and or separation issues are under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. However, the Family Court has the power to entertain post-divorce proceedings concerning child support, custody, and visitation.
How do I file a petition in the Family Court (or modification, order of protection, motion, etc)?
Generally, the Probation Department will prepare petitions for most Family Court cases. Appointments may be scheduled by calling 631-853-4246, or 631-853-4256. It is not mandatory to utilize the services of the Probation Department, although it is recommended - attorneys or individuals may file petitions.

Petitioners seeking support may wish to contact the Child Support Enforcement Bureau at 1-888-208-4485 to file a petition, or you may go in person to the Child Support Enforcement Bureau, Department of Social Services, 3455 Veterans Memorial Highway, Ronkonkoma, NY 11779, 8:00AM - 3:45PM.

Adoption processes/questions should be directed to the Adoption Bureau of the Family Court at 631-740-3640.

You can start many petitions yourself using our online Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Forms for Family Court available at CourtHelp . You may use this Program from any Internet accessible computer (for example: home, local library, courthouse lobby and library resource offices). Once the petition is printed, you may follow the instructions for either mailing the petition or bringing the petition yourself to court to be filed. This process may save you a trip to court and save you time from handwriting a petition.

Am I able to file a single petition if I am addressing more than one issue?
Generally, a separate petition must be filed for each relief sought from this court. For example, if you wish to file a support petition and a custody petition, you will be required to file two petitions.
How do I confirm my court date, is it accurate?
You may call the Family Court General Clerks Office 631-740-8000, and provide the docket number to confirm a court date. Please be advised that only the date, court part, and scheduled time will be provided. Family Court employees will not discuss a matter or offer legal advice.
How do I postpone a case?
You may request a postponement (adjournment) of a matter in writing, upon notice to the opposing party. Your request must be submitted before the date of the scheduled appearance, and will be considered by the support magistrate or judge in the assigned part on the scheduled date. A request is not a guarantee of adjournment, you have not been excused from appearing - you are at risk.
How do I obtain a copy of an order?
The General Clerks Office may provide copies of orders. Litigants may appear personally, provide photo identification, and submit a written request for an order. Copies are generally not provided instantly, and are usually mailed to the requesting party. Not all files are kept on premises, and it may take time to retrieve a file from off-site archives.

Requests submitted via U.S. Mail will be honored if you are eligible to receive a copy (you are a party to the action), and must include a properly notarized signature. Please supply a self-addressed envelope with sufficient postage affixed.
How do I contact the Child Support Enforcement Bureau (CSEB) to resolve a problem?
CSEB may be contacted by phone: 1-888-208-4485 (8:30a.m.-5:00p.m.) The CSEB office is located at 3455 Veterans Memorial Highway, Ronkonkoma, NY 11779.
How do I obtain a “free” court appointed attorney (legal aid, “18b”)?
Your may request a court appointed attorney when you appear before the court; however, not everyone will qualify.

How do I object to (or appeal) an order?
Either party to an action may “object” to an order issued by a support magistrate. An objection may be filed in letter form, on notice to the opposing party. Instructions and sample forms are available in the General Clerks Office.

An appeal may be taken as a matter of right only from an order issued by a judge. (Please note that an appeal may not be taken from an order issued after inquest.) Appeal instructions/forms are available from the General Clerks Office.

What must I do to have my case reassigned to another judge or support magistrate?
An application must be made to the presently assigned judge or support magistrate to“recuse” himself (or herself) from the matter. If the application is not granted, for judicial orders a party may file an application with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court - Second Department


If the recusal application involves a Support Magistrate, a party may file an “objection.”

How do I withdraw a petition?
A petitioner may withdraw a petition by appearing in person on the scheduled court date, or in writing prior to the scheduled court date. A form is available in the General Clerks Office, and photo identification must be presented. If a withdrawal request is made in letter form, the reason for withdrawing the petition must be stated, and the petitioner’s signature must be notarized.
How may I obtain a transcript of a proceeding?
A party to an action may obtain a transcript (stenographer and/or electronically recorded proceedings) by filing a request in the General Clerks Office, and in:

a) Proceedings utilizing a court reporter (stenographer) - you will be contacted by a court reporter, who will provide a cost estimate and an approximate delivery date.

b) Proceedings utilizing electronic recording - the General Clerks Office will provide you with a list of authorized transcription firms, and instructions for obtaining transcripts. Cost estimates, and a delivery date, will be provided by the transcription firm.

NOTE: Transcripts may be ordered up to FIVE YEARS after a court appearance.

What should I do if I cannot afford to pay for stenographic minutes?
If you have been directed to provide stenographic minutes in connection to an objection, or an appeal, and cannot afford the cost, a “Poor Person Motion” may be filed. Although a prescribed form is not required, sample forms are available in the General Clerks Office. A decision will be issued by a Family Court Judge, or for matters on appeal, by a Justice of the Supreme Court Appellate Division.
How do I transfer my case from another county to the Suffolk County Family Court?
You must file a petition in the originating court, and ask for the case to be transferred. All transferred matters will be reviewed by the Suffolk County Family Court, and may (or may not) be accepted, depending upon various factors.
How do I obtain a disposition of an old Family Court matter for employment or other purposes?
A litigant who had been a party to an action must present proper identification (photo ID), and request a disposition from the General Clerks Office. Please be aware that not all files are kept on premises, and it may take time to retrieve a file from off-site archives.