This is my first foray into the world of blogging! Go me!
I’m going to try to address this blog toward developments, issues, and oddities of matrimonial and family law in the State of New York. It’s an ever changing field, sometimes on a daily basis. Now you may be asking, “who the heck are you and why are you blogging about New York matrimonial and family law… and what exactly is matrimonial and family law?” Those are good questions!
I am Chuck Messina, father of 2, husband of 1, mediocre hockey player, and attorney extraordinaire (licensed in New York). I live in Buffalo New York, and I have had the privilege of working for some of the finest matrimonial and family law practitioners around. I enjoy my chosen field, though it is not for those with a weak stomach, and I genuinely enjoy talking about it.
Matrimonial law is, generally speaking, the law of divorce, and all that goes with it. This field encompasses grounds for divorce, equitable distribution of property (and debts, to the chagrin of many), custody of children, visitation issues, child support, spousal maintenance and all ancillary matters.
Family law kind of goes hand in hand with matrimonial law. Family law runs the gamut from paternity, custody and visitation, to family offenses, PINS (Persons In Need of Supervision) Petitions right through adoption, child support and guardianship.
In New York, only the Supreme Court (our trial level court) has jurisdiction to hear a divorce proceeding. The Supreme Court is a court of nearly unlimited jurisdiction and can hear controversies in regard to any matrimonial or family law issue.
On the other hand, the Family Court is a court of limited jurisdiction. It may only hear matters that are specifically set forth in the New York State Constitution, or a relevant statute, such as the Family Court Act. Family Court may not, for instance, hear an action for divorce.
With regard to certain matters, the Supreme Court and the Family court have concurrent jurisdiction. This means that both courts are able to hear matters, such as custody of a child, or child support matters.
I think this is a good first step in my blogging career, and I hope it provides a little insight into the court system in New York State for those lacking familiarity with it.
Next up, the New York Domestic Relations Law (DRL) and the Family Court Act (FCA), recent changes and new requirements.