The Committee on Families and the Law is charged with serving as the Association’s focal point for examining the functions of New York’s courts as those courts address issues involving families. While the primary focus of the Committee involves the New York Family Court, the Committee’s charge is not limited to Family Court because families may also be involved in other parts of the court system.
The Committee researches, studies and recommends measures, including legislative and administrative approaches, and promotes implementation of these recommendations for:
*Increasing assistance for parties, particularly the unrepresented and those with special needs or circumstances, such as those in rural areas, immigrants and others with language difficulties, and those with disabilities that affect their ability to access the courts, through closer work with the court system, development of more pro bono resources through the bar, law schools and other institutions, and greater use of technology.
*Seeking greater consistency in the standard for appointment of counsel for adults in the Family Court.
*Increasing the use of magistrates and mediation in the Family Court.
The goals listed below will likely involve consideration of the views of the Committee on Children and the Law and other appropriate NYSBA entities, either through joint efforts or consultation:
*Providing greater resources for court functions, both primary and ancillary (for example, the resources needed for Family Court in response to the proposed raise the age legislation or to re-open the Children’s Centers in all of the Family Courts).
*Assessing the need for additional judgeships.
*Supporting the development of standards for the use of psychological evaluators and other forensic experts.
*Increasing the use of technology in cases involving family issues.
*Furthering communication among NYSBA, other bar associations, law schools, other relevant institutions and the court system on issues relating to families and the law.