Family Court

Erie County Family Court

Having enough people to foster each child in need has been a longtime problem, complicated by couples who both work. In fact, earlier this year Erie County ran out of foster parents, forcing kids to move as far as Jamestown to a new family who could care for them.

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

Family happiness and family tragedy were on display Thursday yesterday in the court of  Erie County Family Court Judge Lisa Bloch Rodwin. Gemela and Leroy Peete were there to adopt their three-year-old grandchild Da'miyah, whose troubled mother was denied custody almost since delivery.


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Every day, an increasing number of new Americans from nations, geographic areas, and language groups walk into the court buildings in downtown Buffalo and come to grips with the legal system. Often, they are from countries with no functioning legal system or one which they say can't be trusted.


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Increasingly, the people coming into our courts reflect the changing face of America and of Western New York. They include people from across the world, some of whom speak languages which don't even exist in a written form but are in our community and in our schools.


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Alternative dispute resolution is a way to avoid those struggles in a courtroom and sometimes the bad feelings which follow. Attorney Bridget O'Connell works in alternative dispute resolution in Family Court, helping families ease the stress of the aftermaths of divorce.


State lawmakers have a heavy agenda as they work to end the legislative session by June 19.  One item, a fight over family court seats, has the attention of some local members of the state delegation.

Many people come to Erie County Family Court for help without quite knowing what assistance is available.  On this week's edition of You and the Law, WBFO's Mike Desmond talks with attorney Natalie Stutz about the "help desk" inside Family Court to assist them.

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Erie County Democrats have endorsed two candidates for positions with the County's Family Court.