Ensuring the physical safety and financial
security of families
Each year, Her Justice helps low-income women go to Family Court to get orders of protection against their abusive husbands and partners. In some cases, these court orders require batterers to move out of the home so that women and their children can live without fear and hold onto scarce affordable housing. Her Justice also helps mothers get court orders giving them legal custody of their children and requiring fathers to pay child support.
We provide free information about the law and what happens in Family Court. We also advise women about what is likely to happen in their cases and about governmental and private agency resources that may be helpful to them. In as many cases as we can, we provide free volunteer lawyers to represent women in their Family Court cases.
You do not have to be a victim of domestic violence to be eligible for our free legal services.
Learn more about our eligibility requirements
Her Justice can assist with these types of family law cases
Orders of protection
If your husband, intimate partner or another family member is hurting
or threatening you or your child(ren), Her Justice can help you obtain a
court order that tells your abuser to stop his violent, abusive,
harassing or threatening behavior.
An order of protection could do a number of things:
- Order your abuser to stay away from you, your home, job, school,
child(ren)’s school or day care, and/or any other place where you often
- Order your abuser to move out of the home you and he live in (even if your name is not on the lease or title)
- Order your abuser to not to interfere with the care and custody of your child(ren)
- Order your abuser to pay temporary child support
- Give you temporary custody of your child(ren)
- Revoke your abuser’s gun license and order him to surrender any guns in his possession
- Order your abuser to pay you for expenses caused by his abuse (for
example, medical and emergency room expenses or repairs, if he has
damaged your personal property)
Child custody and vistation
Her Justice can help you petition (ask) the court for legal and/or
physical custody of your child(ren). We can also help you ask the court
to order safe visitation arrangements for your child(ren) with their
Having legal custody of your child(ren) gives you the right to have your
child(ren) live with you and to make decisions about your child(ren)’s
education, medical care and religious upbringing
Visitation is typically awarded by Family Court to the parent who does
not have custody of the child(ren). If you are worried that the father
may hurt or neglect your child(ren) or about his possible mental
illness, alcohol or drug addiction or other dangerous behavior, Her Justice
can help you ask the court to restrict his visitation or deprive him of
In New York State, parents must support their child(ren) until they
are 21 years old, unless the child(ren) is completely self-supporting. A
parent who does not have custody (non-custodial parent) must pay to the
parent who has custody (custodial parent) money toward the care and
support of their child(ren). The amount of support that the court will
order is based on the child(ren)’s need and the parent’s ability to pay.
Her Justice can help you petition (ask) the court to order the father of
your child(ren) to pay child support.
A child support order could do a number of things:
- Establish (decide) who is the biological father of your child(ren) (paternity)
- Modify (raise or lower) an existing child support order
- Order the Support Collection Unit (SCU) to take the child support
payments directly from the father’s paycheck or order the father to make
a lump sum payment and/or payments over time of money he owes
- Suspend the father’s driver's license and/or professional or business license for failure to pay
- Order the father to jail for up to six months for not paying child support he has been ordered to pay
- Order the father to pay for health insurance and/or for medical expenses or special needs your child(ren) may have
Spousal support or maintenance
Her Justice can help you ask the court to order your husband to support
you financially, both before you are divorced (spousal support) and
after you are divorced (spousal maintenance).
- Courts do not always award spousal support or spousal maintenance
deciding about this type of financial support, the court will consider a
number of things, including how long you were married, how healthy you
and your ex-husband are, and your and your ex-husband’s abilities to
earn your own income.
Types of family law cases that Her Justice cannot assist with
Child abuse and neglect cases
Her Justice does not provide free lawyers to represent women accused of
child abuse or neglect in cases involving the Administration for
Children’s Services (ACS).
Adoption or foster care cases
Her Justice does not assist with adoptions or foster care cases.
Her Justice does not provide free lawyers to represent women in Criminal Court who
have been accused of crimes, including violence toward their husbands or
intimate partners, abuse or neglect of their children, or engaging in
Check out our legal references guides in English and Spanish which provide
additional information about family law in New York State