LIFT in the News! 

After the release of the New York City Bar and Fund for Modern Courts’ report in February, there has been a significant increase in media coverage about the access to justice issues in Family Court. Read on to see where LIFT and our clients have been featured in the news.

“The Impact of COVID-19 on the New York City Family Court: Recommendations on Improving Access to Justice for All Litigants.”

The New York City Bar and The Fund for Modern Courts released an important report detailing how “Family Court was ill-equipped to respond quickly, consistently, fairly and comprehensively to the needs of all litigants” as a result of longstanding “deep inequities in that historically under-resourced court.”

The report was spearheaded by LIFT Board Member, William C. Silverman, and relied heavily on data and client testimony from LIFT, as our on-the-ground work with pro se litigants offered important insight into the challenges of navigating the under-resourced system.

We are hopeful that the report will bring renewed energy to creating the overdue reforms needed in our Family Courts. 

“Family Court in Crisis”

In an investigate report, Melissa Russo of NBC News4 broke the story about the state of Family Court during COVID and its impact on New York Families. The story featured two of LIFT’s Clients:

  • Ido, who was wrongly fined with $15,000 in back child support – putting him at risk of losing his driver’s license and his livelihood; and
  • Cieanne, who struggled for years within the court system to get child support from her children’s father – a situation that put her family in financial peril.

Can New York’s Tangled Court System Be Fixed?

Law360 published an article discussing court consolidation and the disparate impact that the New York State Court system has on people of color and those experiencing poverty. They spoke with LIFT Staff Attorneys, Jessica Stadmeyer and Nathalie Gonzales, and LIFT CEO, Cathy Cramer:

“Jessica Stadmeyer said one of her clients filed a child support petition in 2018 and waited for years only to see her case dismissed. She was then told to start the process all over again.   

Nathalie Gonzalez, said she represented a father who, after regaining custody of his child, had to file a case in Small Claims Court to recoup child support money he had continued to pay while the custody fight in Family Court dragged on.

There aren’t enough jurists. There’s not enough court staff. This is no fault of the individuals who are there, but it’s the way the structure is,’ said CEO Cathy Cramer, ‘Other courts get priority.‘”

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