Family Court Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Where can I find a simple, easy to understand guide to Family Court?

How do I object to a final support order issued by a support magistrate?

How do I appeal a final order issued by a judge?

How do I obtain a copy of electronically or digitally recorded proceedings?

How do I enter into a stipulated settlement for child support?

2019 Child Support Standards Act chart

What is the New York State Child Support Enforcement Program and how does it work?


Emancipation of Juveniles in New York State

There is NO official court process in New York State for a youth to be declared "emancipated". Unlike some other states, New York does not issue so-called "emancipation orders." A determination of emancipation is "ancillary" to some other proceeding. That means that as part of another proceeding a finding may be made that a youth is emancipated, but only with regards to that particular proceeding. For example, the filing of a support petition in Family Court may result in an order declaring a youth to be emancipated, but only with respect to a party's obligation to support the youth.

Support Obligation:
Children are deemed "emancipated" and parents no longer have an obligation to support them if children become economically independent of parents through employment, entry into military service, or marriage, and may also be deemed constructively emancipated if, without cause, they withdraw from parental control and supervision.

Under the "withdrawal from parental control doctrine," a child who is not financially self-sufficient may nevertheless be deemed emancipated so as to relieve the parents of their support obligation if he or she abandons the parental home without sufficient cause and refuses to comply with reasonable parental demands.

Where a child leaves home for good cause or with approval of the custodial parent, a child retains his/her right to support from their parent.

School Registration:
It is NOT necessary to have a court-appointed legal guardian for an "emancipated" youth to enroll in a school district different from that of the natural parent. Often Schools or agencies request copies of "emancipation papers." What they may be asking for is an affidavit or other sworn or verified document which sets forth the reasons the youth believes she/he is an emancipated minor. Such documentation is NOT provided by a court.

Important Ages to Remember:
1. Under 21: Parents are liable for support, subject to the child's obeying reasonable rules and regulations of the household.
2. Under 18: Parents are subject to Family Court jurisdiction for neglecting the child's support needs or for abusing the child.
3. Under 18: The child is subject to Family Court jurisdiction as a Person In Need of Supervision if she/he fails to obey the reasonable rules and regulations of the household, such as by running away or being otherwise incorrigible.

For answers to specific questions regarding your rights and/or obligations as an "emancipated" minor, or his/her parent, you should consult your lawyer.


Objection to Driver's License Suspension

Please be advised of the following procedures regarding objections to driver's license suspensions:

1) Once you have received notification from the Erie County Support Collection Unit that an action has been commenced seeking to suspend your driver's license, a written challenge may be filed with the Erie County Support Collection Unit, 95 Franklin Street, Buffalo, New York 14202.

2) If you receive a written denial, an objection may be filed with Family Court (within 35 days of notification of the denial). In order to file the objection, you would need the following:
a) a copy of the denial letter;
b) a completed "Objection to Support Collection Unit Denial of Challenge to Driver's License Suspension" (Form 4-22)
c) a completed affidavit of service.

3) If you are in possession of these three items, the "objection" would be: filed with the Court (One Niagara Plaza, 3rd Floor - Support Magistrates Office), held for the 10-day rebuttal period, and then forwarded to the appropriate Judge. A decision would be rendered on the papers alone (without a hearing) and the parties would be advised of the disposition.