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Case overloads in family law court present various problems

The New York State Bar Association plans on lobbying for the creation of 20 new Family Court judgeships to be created across the state. As caseloads in family courts appear to be large, there appears to be a need to for judicial resources for families litigating matters in court in hopes for a solution.

A chairperson of the state bar task force feels such efforts have been overlooked "and it is the children of the state of New York who suffer the consequences." The reason for concern about children caught up in a judgeship shortage is because of delays caused by large caseloads. "For children, a delay of 18 months is very serious," she stated. (From the perspective of a family law attorney, one can only imagine the problems delays can bring on for a child caught up in child custody dispute.)

She also feels that the constituency of family law courts is made up largely by poor people. And while filings in courts have gone up to nearly 700,000 per year, the number of Family Court judgeships in New York City has remained at 47 for over two decades.

Obviously budgetary considerations will enter in to whether a proposal for adding more judges will be granted. Each judgeship would cost approximately $1 million per year. However, such a proposal is supported by organizations such as the League of Women Voters for New York City and for the state of New York, the state Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Brooklyn Defender Services.

In the meantime, we will have to do what we can with the circumstances as these currently exist. Though caseloads may cause problems in child custody and other family law disputes, experienced family law attorneys can still provide legal options and possible alternatives for their clients.

Source: New York Law Daily Journal, "Children Need More Family Court Judges, State Bar Says," Joel Stashenko, Jan. 13, 2014