Statewide Coordinating Judge for Family Court Matters

Hon. Richard Rivera

Hon. Richard Rivera was appointed as Statewide Coordinating Judge for Family Court Matters by Chief Administrative Judge Joseph A. Zayas and First Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Norman St. George, effective October 4, 2023. In that role, Judge Rivera has statewide responsibility for, among other things, addressing operational issues impacting Family Court, developing and implementing best practices to promote access to equal justice for children and families in Family Court, creating training for Family Court Judges and Court professional staff, and advocating for increased resources for the Family Court.

Effective January 1, 2022, Judge Rivera was appointed Supervising Family Court Judge in the Third Judicial District, becoming the first person of color to hold that position. Judge Rivera is Co-Chair (Emeritus) of the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission (“Commission”), established to develop programs to improve the perception of fairness within the court system and to ensure equal justice in New York State. He was appointed Co-Chair of the Commission in February 2022 by then-Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and served in that capacity until his appointment as Statewide Coordinating Judge for Family Court Matters.

On January 1, 2019, Judge Rivera was designated Acting Supreme Court Justice for the Third Judicial District and was named as the first Supervising Judge for Domestic Violence Courts and Mentor Courts in the District. That same year, Judge Rivera was also appointed to the Board of Advisors of the National Consortium on Racial & Ethnic Fairness in the Courts.

In November 2014, Judge Rivera was elected to a 10-year term in Albany County Family Court, becoming the first person of color elected to a Countywide Bench and the first Latino elected to any Bench in the entire Third Judicial District. On February 27, 2017, Judge Rivera was appointed to preside over the then-newly created Domestic Violence Part at the Albany County Family Court. Judge Rivera also presided over the Albany County Youth Part from its creation in 2018, pursuant to the Raise the Age legislation, until December 31, 2021.

Judge Rivera is a graduate of Colgate University and Albany Law School. His legal career began as an associate counsel for the Law Office of Gaspar M. Castillo, Esq., where he represented litigants in local, city and town courts, handling criminal matters, traffic violations and appeals.

It wasn’t until he became staff counsel for the Albany Law School Family Violence Clinic that his career in Family Court began. As staff counsel, Judge Rivera represented victims of domestic violence with all matters pertaining to orders of protection, custody, and support. Judge Rivera also served as an Attorney for Children in both Albany and Rensselaer Counties; Assistant Conflict Defender, representing litigants in family and criminal courts; Assistant County Attorney, prosecuting Juvenile Delinquents and PINS, and as a Support Magistrate. 

Judge Rivera is a member of the New York State Bar Association, Albany County Bar Association, the Capital District Black and Hispanic Bar Association, the Puerto Rican Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Latino Judges Association, the Judicial Friends, and the New York State Family Court Judges Association.

Richard Rivera