Representation in Family Offense Proceedings
We provide help responding to domestic violence
New York courts have a streamlined process for responding to incidents of domestic violence. If you have been harassed, menaced, assaulted, stalked or otherwise harmed, or you are fearful of being harmed by your intimate partner or family member, you can seek an order of protection from the court. The process involves filing a Family Offense Petition in Family Court. This process is designed to cover specific types of domestic violence that fall into a statutory list of criminal offenses. This process is also limited to situations where there is an “intimate relationship,” as defined by the law, between the petitioner and respondent. We can assist you in determining whether an intimate relationship exists and in preparing the petition in which you will describe your circumstances and any incidents that give rise to the statutory offenses. If you children are victims of domestic violence or fearful of being harmed by your intimate partner or family member, you can seek an order of protection on the children’s behalf. Once the court receives a properly plead family offense petition, the Court will issue a temporary order of protection (sometimes referred to as a temporary restraining order) and the police or a sheriff will serve your partner or family member who has been named as the respondent.
We advocate for Respondents in Family Offense Proceedings
In circumstances where you have been served with a family offense petition, you may need representation to demonstrate that the allegations are false or you may need guidance to remedy the situation. Sometimes a family offense petition is filed after a report was made to the State Central Register (child abuse hotline) and we can guide you during the investigation by Children’s Protective Services. Other times, a family offense petition is filed preceding or during a divorceaction and we can guide you to consolidate these matters and address them together. In the case of a divorce proceeding, if there are children, then the Court is obligated to consider any domestic violence or child abuse allegations when determining custody as well as access (parenting time). Many times, we have guided people to find help to prevent repeated incidents of violence or abuse. A family offense proceeding may result in a civil order of protection. In circumstances where criminal charges are brought, you may be subject to a criminal prosecution and an order of protection issued by the Criminal Court as well. We are experienced in working with your criminal lawyer to coordinate your defense in simultaneous civil and criminal proceedings.
Whether you are a petitioner or respondent, we can provide you with the support and advice to navigate the proceedings and ensure that your rights are protected.