438 Main Street l 7th Floor l Buffalo, NY
(716) 847-0662

Family Court Help Desk

Family Court Help Desk: Free Legal Advice For Family Court Matters

If you would like to speak with an attorney about a family law issue, and your matter is in Erie County, please visit our In-Person help desk Monday, Wednesday, & Friday from 11:30 – 2:00 pm at the Erie County Family Court on the 4th Floor.

If you would like to speak with an attorney about a family law issue, and your matter is in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans or Wyoming Counties, please call 716-823-3255 during the hours of 10 am and 2 pm Monday & Wednesday to arrange an attorney phone consultation.

Family law issues include paternity, child support, spousal support, family offense orders of protection, custody, and visitation for parents, siblings, and grandparents. 

Please note: Our attorneys at both the in-person desk and phone line are only able to offer you a consultation if you are currently not represented by an attorney, and are low-income.

In September 2013, The Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP), along with the assistance and support of the Erie County Family Court, implemented a new program to provide limited-scope advice to individuals with Erie County Family Court matters. The Family Court Help Desk is staffed by one or two law school interns and an attorney.


Upon arriving, a client is screened for eligibility and an intake is completed by the intern. Then eligible clients meet with the attorney for a one-time counsel and advice session.

VLP’s goal is to inform and educate unrepresented litigants. Through education we reduce the number of unnecessary petitions being filed, improve the quality of the petitions that are filed, and ensure that the proper petition is filed to achieve the client’s desired outcome. Therefore, pro se litigants are less likely to have to refile their petition, amend their petition, or have their petition dismissed. Further, we provide general information about Family Court operations and procedures so that unfamiliar litigants have some insight into what to expect and how events are likely to proceed based on their situation. We let clients know how to prepare for their first court appearance and what they can expect on that first date. Additionally, VLP helps by providing information for other organizations that may provide non-legal support services or full representation.

If you are an attorney interested in volunteering at the Help Desk, please fill out this form or contact Kristopher Sigeti, Esq., Supervising Attorney for Family Law at ksigeti@ecbavlp.com.
Help Desk Volunteer Attorneys earn CLE credit for pro-bono work.

 FCHD: Location and Times

Erie County (In-Person only)

Erie County Family Court
1 Niagara Plaza, Buffalo, NY 14202
4th Floor (Room 428)

Monday, Wednesday, & Friday
11:30AM – 2:00PM

Please bring all court paperwork, including petitions or orders for the attorney’s review.

Please note that the Help Desk has eligibility requirements, runs on a first-come first-served basis, and is for a one-time only counsel and advice session. The Help Desk does not provide a second opinion for clients that already have an attorney.

*The Help Desk is closed for holidays and whenever New York State Courts are closed. See here for court schedule.

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