The Courts

New York’s court system is quirky, to say the least. I think is it designed to confuse outsiders. In the rest of the states, the top court is call the Supreme Court. In, New York, the lower court is called the Supreme Court. The levels of hierarchy is: Supreme Court, Appellate Division and then the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court is the court of “supreme jurisdiction.” It has the authority to hear and try almost all issues. But, in addition to the Supreme Court, we have the surrogate’s court districts courts, city court, town courts, village courts, civil courts, criminal courts, county courts and the court of claims. It can be a bit confusing.

Here’s chart that appears on the Office of Court Administration’s website:

Civil Court Structure

For divorce and family law issues, the only courts that matter are the Supreme Court, the Family Court and the appellate courts.

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