Stephen L. Underwood, Attorney at Law, 1395 Union Road  West Seneca  NY 14224
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Family Court Lawyer Buffalo New York

Stephen K. Underwood is a New York Family Court attorney serving Buffalo, Niagara Falls, West Seneca, Amherst, Depew, Clarence, Cheektowaga, Orchard Park, Angola, Lackawanna, Alden, East Aurora, Boston, Brant, Colden, Collins, Concord, Eden, Grand Island, Hamburg, Holland, Lancaster, Marilla, Newstead, North Collins, Sardina, Tonawanda, North Tonawanda, Blasdell, Kenmore, and Williamsville.

If you have had a child out of wedlock the Family Court is where you litigate issues concerning Paternity, Custody, Visitation, and Child Support. The family Court also handles cases brought by the county for child abuse, child neglect, and adjudications for juvenile delinquency (JD), and person in need of supervision (PINS).


When you have had a child out of wedlock and the father was not present to acknowledge paternity at the hospital, a paternity petition is required to be filed in the Family Court to establish parental rights for the father. If the mother wants child support from the father, paternity needs to be established before a child support order can be issued. Sometimes the County brings a paternity petition on behalf of the mother, when the mother is receiving public assisstance, to obtain child support from the father. The County may also seek money from the father to pay for his share of the bith, if the mothers birth costs were paid by Medicaid.


It is important for parents that have a child out of wedlock to establish Custody. There are three basic types od Custody.

Full Cusdody gives a parent the right to make all decisions regarding the health, education, and welfare, and permits him or her to be the primary residential parent of the child.

Joint Custody with a Primary Residential Dsignation, gives one parent the right to have the child primarily reside with him or her, but the decisions regarding the health, education, and welfare are shared between the parents.

Straight Joint Custody is where the parents share both physical custody and the decisions regarding the health, education, and welfare.

If one parent agrees or the Court awards Full Custody to a parent it does not negate their parental rights (this is one common misconception).


Visitation is an Order granted by the Family Court that descrtibes the schedule that the non-custodial parent sees the child. Typically the schedule will include alternate weekend visits, one day during the week after school, and holidays. The schedule is usually designed around work schedules.

Child Support

Child Support is the amount of money that the custodial parent receives from the non-custodial parent. The amount paid comes from the Child Support Standards Act (CCSA). Additional Support may be paid for healthcare insurance premiums, uninsured medical costs, and daycare costs. Below is a link to my Child Support Calculator. Support may also be paid via an income deduction order.

Child Abuse

Child Abuse Petitions under Article 10 of the Family Court Act are sometimes brought by the Departement of Social Services against parents that are acused of Child Abuse. The charges may lead to a termination of parental rights, and may cause separate criminal charges to be brought by the District Attorney. A non-abusing parent often faces Neglect, for failing to take the necessary steps to protect the child from the abusing parent.

Child Neglect

Neglect Petitions under Article 10 of the Family Court Act are sometimes brought by the Departement of Social Services against parents that are acused of Child Neglect. The charges may lead to a termination of parental rights. Typically neglect petitions stem from poor living conditions, failure to protect the child from abuse, educational neglect, and child obesity.

Juvenile Delinquency

Petitions against children for Juvenile Delinquency are sometimes brought against children for the crimes they commit by the county. Although it can often be avoided, childlen can sometimes be placed in Juvenile Detention Centers for a period of time up until the age of 18. Sometimes the crime is of a severity necessary to charge them as an adult.


Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS) petitions are often brought by the Department of Social Services that are instituted by a parent claiming that a child is unruly at home and does not respond to discipline. Typically the Court puts services in place to address the root causes of the unruliness, or in some cases places the child in a Juvenile Facility.

Free Consultations

Please call (716)-656-7676 for a free phone counsultation or CONTACT US for a free web consultation or UNDERWOODLAW BLOG to read more about Family Law on my blog. The first consultation is always free, and you will always speak directly to Stephen K. Underwood.

Stephen K. Underwood, Attorney at Law
1395 Union Road West Seneca, NY 14224
Phone: 716-656-7676 URL of Map