ALBANY – Chautauqua County Will be getting a second family court judge to help deal with a growing case load. Senator Cathy Young says that an agreement has been reached between the State Senate and Assembly to double the county’s number of Family Court judges from one to two.
Young said negotiating the bill between the Senate and Assembly was arduous because assembly members from New York City were pushing to take judgeships slotted for upstate and have them go downstate instead. She credited area assemblyman Andy Goodell for his work in the assembly in fighting to keep the position from being eliminated in Chautauqua County and moved downstate.
Resources for the new pool of judgeships was included in the 2014-15 state budget. According to Senator Young, the limited number of Family Court judges available in Chautauqua County and across the state has impeded cases being heard and resolved in a timely manner.
Over 30 years spanning from 1983 to 2013, the number of Family Court filings in New York State increased from 366,644 to 690,928, while the number of judgeships increased from only 127 to 149.
Chautauqua County Family Court makes legal decisions regarding abused or neglected children, adoption, custody, domestic violence, foster care, juvenile delinquency, child and spousal support, and paternity. Currently, Judge Judith Claire is the only regular Family Court judge in the county.
Chautauqua County’s new judge will be elected in this November’s general election. Ballot petitioning for candidates will begin on July 11 and petitions must be filed with the county Board of Elections between July 21 and July 24. Petitions must be signed by either 350 registered voters enrolled in the party being petitioned, or by 1.75 percent of active enrolled voters of the party, whichever is less.