Contact: Mark Mahoney Associate Director, Media Services & Public
March 20, 2012
STATE BAR ASSOCIATION FAMILY COURT TASK FORCE TO HOLD
FINAL HEARING MARCH 29 IN BUFFALO
A State Bar Association task force studying New York’s Family
Court system, placing particular emphasis on its impact on children and
families, will convene the last of four statewide hearings on Thursday,
March 29, in Buffalo.
The Task Force on Family Court hearing, in the Appellate Division,
Fourth Department, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the United
States Courthouse, 2 Niagara Square, Buffalo.
During the past decade, family court workloads have been rising as
the number of cases involving child custody, visitation and child
support has increased.
“The growing burden placed on our Family Court system is having
a direct impact on our most vulnerable population – our
children,” said Bar Association President Vincent E. Doyle
III of Buffalo (Connors & Vilardo). “With these
hearings, we are collecting information from a variety of experts that
we hope will lead to improved conditions for children and the
The task force previously held hearings in Albany, Manhattan and on
“We were impressed with the depth of information we received
during the first three hearings, and we expect to gain further insights
from the Buffalo forum,” said task force co-chair Susan B.
Lindenauer, retired counsel to the president and
attorney-in-chief of The Legal Aid Society of New York City.
“The testimony will be very valuable in shaping our
recommendations for improving the Family Court system,” said
Broome County Family Court Judge Mary Rita Connerton,
who also co-chairs the task force.
Among those expected to testify on March 29 are family court judges
and others affiliated with the courts, local bar associations, legal
service groups and organizations that serve children, families and
battered women. Confirmed speakers include:
• Carla Palumbo, director, Civil
Division, Legal Aid Society of Rochester, Inc., Rochester
• Adele Fine, assistant public defender,
Monroe County Public Defender’s Office, Rochester
• Elaine M. Spaull, director, Center for
• Amy E. Schwartz, senior attorney, Empire
Justice Center, Rochester
• Lisa Bloch Rodwin, judge, Erie County
Family Court, Buffalo
• John J. Aman, deputy chief support
magistrate, Erie County Family Court, Buffalo
• Susan Vivian Mangold, professor,
University at Buffalo Law School, Buffalo
• Susan Kay Griffith, supervising attorney,
Hiscock Legal Aid Society, Syracuse
• Allison O’Malley, executive
director, Safe Journey, Rochester
• Pamela Neubeck, chief attorney, Attorneys
For Children Unit, Legal Aid Bureau, Buffalo
• Keith Morgenheim, supervising attorney,
Neighborhood Legal Services, Buffalo
• Robert Lonski, administrator, Aid to
Indigent Prisoners Society
The Appellate Division, Fourth Department, is comprised of 22
counties: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee,
Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Oneida,
Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, Wyoming and
Yates. Written testimony can be submitted to the Task Force on Family
Court, One Elk Street, Albany, NY 12207.
The 35-member Task Force on Family Court, created in 2010, has four
subcommittees that address: resources for litigants; resources for the
courts; operations, case management and staffing; and technology. The
task force will issue its preliminary report in June 2012 and a final
report in November 2012. That report will be presented to the state
chief administrative judge and others for consideration.
According to the Office of Court Administration, New York’s
Family Courts handled 720,850 court filings in 2010, compared to 683,390
in 2001. In New York City, the caseload was 246,266 in 2010, up from the
226,544 in 2001.
Despite rising caseloads – including a record 742,365 statewide
in 2009 – only four new Family Court judgeships have been created
statewide since 1999 and none in New York City since 1991.
______________________________________________________________________________ Family Court’s Growing Burden
Type of Petition ...
2010 ... 2001
Total Filings ... 720,850 ... 683,390
Custody/Visitation ... 205,026 ... 169,111
Support 267,820 ... 217,352
4,791 ... 4,313
Family Offense ... 65,874 ...
Source: New York State Unified Court System, Report of the Chief
Administrator of the Courts, 2010, 2001 ______________________________________________________________________________
The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest
voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in
NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, ONE ELK STREET, ALBANY, NY 12207 PH: (518) 463-3200 SECURE FX: (518) 463-5993