What is a PINS petition and how are they handled in family court?

Posted By The Law Office of Kelley M. Enderley, PC || 11-Oct-2013

Ask any parent in the state of New York and they will tell you that being a parent is no easy task. Most parents encounter the usual amount of disobedience from their children with situations such as refusing to clean their room and talking back to a parent. But when this disobedient behavior escalates to skipping school repeatedly or physically abusing an adult figure, then that child quickly turns into a candidate for a PINS petition.

But what is a PINS petition and what can families expect to encounter when this matter gets taken to court?

According to the New York Family Court System, PINS, or Person in Need of Supervision, is a title given to a child who is under the age of 18 and behaves in such a way that could be considered out of control or dangerous. This can include not attending school and disobeying his or her parents, guardians or other authorities. In some extreme cases, physical abuse from a child towards an adult has also resulted in a PINS case.

Cases such as this can result in a PINS petition where the parents and child are given a court summons to appear in front of a family court judge to have their case heard. During this time, the complaining party testifies to the behavior of the child and presents other evidence that supports a need for supervision. If at this time, a child is determined to be a PINS case, then the judge can set a date for a dispositional hearing.

During a dispositional hearing it is determined whether the child should stay in the custody of his or her parents along with a probation officer, or if they should be transferred into the protective custody of a foster group home or social service facility. The child must adhere to the orders given by the judge or risk other more serious litigation down the road.

As readers of our blog can imagine, filing a PINS petition is never an easy decision to come by and often requires significant legal advice before taking those steps. Before taking these steps, it may be worth talking to an attorney to figure out your options and see if a PINS petition is right for you and your family.

Source: NYcourts.gov, "Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]"