Legal Aid Society

Projects, Units & Initiatives

Family Law and Domestic Violence Project

Our Family Law and Domestic Violence Practice provides legal services to survivors of domestic violence throughout New York City. Our services focus on providing support to survivors as they re-build after abuse. We are the main provider of representation for survivors of domestic abuse in contested and uncontested divorces across the city. In contested divorces, our attorneys provide expert legal representation along with sensitive support and guidance throughout the arduous and often further traumatizing court process. We also provide specialist representation in family court for survivors seeking protective orders,  custody of their children and support. Our consumer debt attorneys advise and advocate for survivors of financial abuse to help them regain control of their finances and work toward economic independence. Our immigration attorneys handle the full spectrum of immigration applications and defenses for which survivors and their families are eligible .

In addition to our legal services expertise, we partner with community based organizations to provide assistance with crisis intervention, safety planning, and short- and long-term counseling. Our services assist survivors of violence in achieving stability, autonomy, and economic self-sufficiency as they move on with their lives.

Our Impact

Our staff has obtained over 3.3 million dollars in awards of child support, spousal support and distribution of marital property for our clients. These dollars represent countless numbers of clients who were kept off public assistance, retained their homes, and were better off for their future and the future of their children due to our advocacy.

Ms. F came to LAS under terrible circumstances. Her teenage son had died under extremely tragic circumstances. There was also a long history of domestic violence, and in the wake of their son’s death, Mr. F left the marital home and abandoned all the bills. After filing for divorce for Ms. F, we were able to secure a settlement that got her 50% of the marital assets. That included the value of their home after its sale and Mr. F’s substantial retirement accounts.

Through extensive settlement negotiations, LAS was also able to guarantee a substantial waiting period before selling the home, and for the duration of that time, Ms. F had the exclusive right to live there. We were also able to include language entitling Ms. F to a share of a wrongful death lawsuit involving the parties’ son. In addition to all that, we were able to get an agreement for full maintenance (alimony). Mr. F at first refused entirely and then tried to make an argument for a reduction. The court did not accept either and he eventually capitulated to the full amount. At the end of the case, Ms. F was able to have a place to stay until she got on her feet, a substantial amount of cash and retirement assets to draw on, and monthly alimony payments to secure her financial future.