The New York State Family Court Act provides for a proceeding known as a family offense proceeding designed to address issues of domestic violence between persons related by blood, marriage, divorce, child(ren) in common or partners in an intimate relationship. The allegations that rise to the level of a family offense proceeding are limited to certain kinds of behavior or contact, including disorderly conduct, harassment, stalking, assault, sexual misconduct and sexual abuse.
Upon the filing of a petition alleging a family offense, the court may issue a temporary order of protection that directs the accused party to stay away from the complaining party and/or child(ren), or to refrain from any contact or communication with the complaining party and/or child(ren). The order of protection may also protect pets. If an order of protection is in effect and the person named in the order of protection violates the terms of the order, they may be arrested and charged with criminal contempt.
In the event the family offense matter proceeds to trial, the complaining party bears the burden of proof to prove each of the elements necessary to have a finding of the underlying acts constituting the family offense.
Whether you are the complainant in a family offense petition or the accused, it is important that you have an attorney at every stage of the proceedings to preserve and protect your rights.
If you would like to schedule a confidential consultation with Ms. Arquette or Ms. Buckley to discuss issues regarding the filing of or defense to a family offense petition, contact our office for a confidential consultation to answer your questions.