Beginning July 8, the Richmond County Court will be offering an Uncontested Divorce Clinic on Staten Island, New York. The new weekly clinic will be free for clients without legal representation who seek
Staffed with volunteer attorneys from Staten Island (and possibly other neighboring boroughs), the clinic will be open to everyone – but it is designed primarily to assist those individuals whose divorces are not complicated by custody battles or disputes over division of assets. The Richmond County Family Court and the Borough Help Center will provide client referrals to the clinic.
Justice Judith N. McMahon, administrative judge for New York’s 13th Judicial District, stated that, “The goal is to assist those who want to go as unrepresented in an uncontested divorce in a more expeditious, proper manner by having the proper forms.”
She further elaborated that the manner in which people without legal representation complete forms might be the reason for rejection by the court.
The clinic’s first training session was held June 18 on Staten Island; Justice McMahon welcomed the 20 volunteers attending the session.
Baila Kamman, the supervising attorney in charge of New York County Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Volunteer Uncontested Divorce program, led the training. Laurie Milder, special counsel to Justice Fern Fisher, deputy chief judge for the City of New York and Director of the New York State Courts Access to Justice program, assisted.
State Supreme Court Justice Philip Minardo’s principal law clerk, Robert Soos, will serve as a supervising attorney at the clinic. Volunteer attorneys will receive Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits for attending the training session and for their work after the clinic opens.
Similar clinics already exist in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens through the Unified Court System’s Access to Justice Program.
The Uncontested Divorce Clinic’s first session will be conducted on July 8 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Old Supreme Court Library, located at 18 Richmond Terrace in St. George. Beginning in September, clinics will take place every Wednesday; there may also be weekly clinics during the summer months if there is enough volunteer interest to run them. Additional information and appointments can be obtained by calling the Supreme Court Help Center at 718-675-8589.
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