The Basics Series Multi-lingual legal reference guides
It is always best to have legal representation when you need to appear in court. But hiring an attorney is not always possible. The Basics Series contains 11 easy-to-understand booklets that you can use as a guide when you need to appear in Family or Supreme Court without an attorney. The booklets cover a wide range of matrimonial and family law issues. They are designed to help you take the first steps to obtain important legal protections for you and your family.
The Basics Series gives straight-forward answers to common questions about divorce, spousal support, orders of protection, child custody and visitation, child support, paternity, abuse and neglect cases, guardianship and adoption.
Reading the booklets that apply to your case will help you understand the legal steps involved in your case and help you make informed decisions. The Basics Series booklets give clear definitions of legal terms, they explain what information the judge will need in order to make a decision in your case and what to expect when you go to court.
The Basics Series booklets were created in PDF (Portable Document Format) using Adobe Acrobat®. To view or print the booklets, you will need to have Adobe® Reader TM installed on your computer. Acrobat Reader is free and is available directly from Adobe's website. Download Adobe Reader.
From this booklet, you will learn what child abuse and neglect are. You will also learn what the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) can do and what your rights are. When you are involved in an ACS case, you are entitled to have a free attorney from the court if you cannot afford to pay for one.
This booklet is a guide to the types of adoptions in New York State, the rules regarding who can adopt, and where to get assistance if you want to adopt a child. It also answers common questions about adoption. It is wise to consult an attorney when you wish to adopt a child.
From this booklet, you will learn why you might want to have a guardian for your child, the types of guardians that may be appointed, what a guardian can and cannot do, and what role the court plays in appointing the guardian.
Changing Your Name and Social Security Number in New York State
This booklet tells you what steps to take and what documents you will need in order to change your name or Social Security number. It will also tell you where to apply for a name-change in each borough, how much the process will cost, and who must be notified when your name is changed.
This booklet explains how to get a court order for child support. It answers questions about the steps a person must take in order to raise or lower child support payments. It also explains how the Support Collection Unit (SCU) can help you.
This is a guide to the seven different types of courts in New York City. It tells you what kind of cases each court handles and also explains the meaning of words commonly used in each of the courts. Contact information for the courts is included, if you have more questions.
This booklet explains how to get a court order for custody or visitation of your child. It explains the factors the judge will consider when making an order and also gives basic definitions of legal terms the judge is likely to use when speaking to you about your case.
This booklet will help you understand the laws regarding divorce. It explains what you need in order to get a divorce, such as the paperwork required and grounds (the reason) for the divorce. The booklet will help you understand the rules so you will be able to provide the right information. It is wise to consult an attorney before filing for a divorce.
This booklet tells you how to petition (ask) the court to order your spouse to support you financially, both before you are divorced and after you are divorced. The booklet explains how to request a change in the support you receive or pay. It tells you what papers you must file, what facts the judge will consider, and outlines basic legal terms you may need to use to communicate clearly with the judge.
This booklet explains what kind of protection you can ask for, where to go to get help, the steps you need to take to get an order, and what information you need to bring to court. It tells you some of the ways in which the order may make you safer. An order of protection cannot guarantee your physical safety. You can ask the judge to appoint a lawyer if you cannot afford to pay for one.
This booklet explains when you might want to have the Court decide paternity (who the father of a child is) and who can start a paternity case. It also tells you what steps to take and what evidence you can bring to Court.