Select Page

How to Get a Free Family Law Attorney on Long Island

by | May 29, 2018 | Family Law Attorney, Family Law Lawyer, News and Events

Mandated Counsel or 18b Attorneys

In certain Family Court proceedings on Long Island, a party may be entitled to an assigned attorney. This “mandated counsel” is typically referred to as an 18b Attorney. These appointed attorneys are a vital part of Family Court and are critical in protecting certain parental fundamental rights.

Divorce Attorney Consultation

Statutory Authorization

Both statutory and constitutional law require that New York State provide counsel to certain individuals financially unable to obtain an attorney. Specifically, in Suffolk County, such assigned counsel is provided under the Suffolk County Assigned Counsel Defender Plan pursuant to County Law Article 18-B, which is where these attorneys get their nickname.

When dealing with Family Court proceedings in particular, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that “an indigent parent, faced with the loss of a child’s society, as well as the possibility of criminal charges is entitled to the assistance of counsel.” In re Ella B., 30 N.Y.2d 352 (1972). The court went on to further emphasize the importance of a parents’ right to the custody and care of their children. The court declared that failure to provide a parent with a lawyer would violate the Constitution. The New York State Legislature went on to codify this right in a range of family law proceedings. These cases range from those involving custody and visitation, to abuse/neglect, termination of parental rights, and family offense proceedings.

Do these Attorneys Only Work in Family Court?

While for the purposes of our practice, we only run into 18b Attorneys in Family Court, 18b Attorneys also handle many other kinds of cases. 18b Attorneys are also critical players in criminal proceedings. They represent indigent defendants in felonies and misdemeanors, including murder cases. These attorneys can also represent defendants in appellate cases.

These attorneys can also be appointed in actions involving State intervention. An 18b Attorney can represent parties in actions involving the State, such as child protective, foster care, and termination of parental rights proceedings.

Obtaining an 18b Attorney

Typically, judges determine who is eligible for an 18b Attorney. Therefore, in order to have an 18b Attorney appointed to you, the judge must first make a determination that you are indigent and cannot afford to hire a private attorney.

What kind of Requirements are Necessary to be an 18b Attorney?

Usually, in order to be placed on the 18b Panel, the Attorney must have participated on multiple occasions in any of the following:

  • Permanent Neglect Proceeding
  • Neglect
  • Termination of Parental Rights
  • Custody/Visitation
  • Support Proceeding
  • Litigated Paternity
  • Family Offense
  • Contested Adoption

Have More Questions About Family Court? Contact Us

If you have further questions regarding your Family Court proceedings, we can help. Contact our Long Island Divorce & Family Law firm at 631-629-2545 to set up your free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

Call 631-923-1910 or fill in the form below

Schedule your complimentary consultation and case evaluation with our experienced attorneys today. When you call, you’ll speak to our friendly Client Services Director, who will be able to answer your general questions and set up your appointment with an attorney who specializes in your unique case.

At your meeting, your attorney will describe the many options available and determine together which is the right solution for you. By the end of this meeting we’ll all understand how we can best help you to move forward.

No Cost or Obligation

There is no cost or obligation for this initial consultation. It is simply an opportunity for us to get to know each other, answer your questions and learn if Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. is right the right law firm for you. Give us a call at 631-923-1910 or fill in the short form below to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.

All Fields Are Required

Divorce Lawyer Attorney Long Island NY Courts Open
Divorce Lawyer Long Island New York



Google Review of divorce longisland
Tammy Granville
Tammy Granville
11:49 04 Jul 21
Everyone was very professional. Never had to call to get an update on my case. Someone always updated me on a regular basis.
Anastasia R
Anastasia R
22:45 17 Dec 20
I went to see Rob for a modification for my child custody agreement to relocate, I can honestly say that working with Rob and Christine has been the best experience. I cannot recommend them enough I only wish I had seen them sooner. They are prompt with communication, and they are honest which I appreciate so much. They do not give you fake promises and they do their best to fight for what you want which they do amazingly well! You can tell they are passionate about what they do and care about their clients. A very important aspect of lawyer client relationship for me is an open line of communication, the anxiety of the unknown always gets the best of us. The fact they were always available whether it be phone call or email to answer any question was extremely comforting and exactly what I needed. I am not well versed with laws and regulation so knowing I had Rob and his partners there when I was unsure or conflicted was extremely needed and greatly appreciated.When it comes to family court it's never easy but having Rob and his partner by my side I felt extremely comfortable and he helped me have realistic expectations. Please TRUST HIM!! If you're looking for a lawyer (at least for my end from child custody/Family Court) don't look any further you will not be disappointed. I hope to never have to use them again but in the event I have to, they are going to be my forever first call.


  • I have known Robert for more than 8 eight years. Robert has represented many of my family and friends. Each and every one has raved about Robert’s professionalism and expertise. He is knowledgable, friendly and truly cares about his clients. I would not hesitate to continue to refer Robert and his firm in the future!
  • I’ve known Robert for most of my life, and feel very fortunate that I have been able to turn to a good friend for various kinds of legal advice. He is very intelligent, straight forward, and professional. Most importantly though, Robert always finds the fastest resolution, and will not waste your time or money. He is NOT in the habit of dragging things through litigation if there is no need for the added expense. I have referred a few of my friends to Robert, and they have all been more than satisfied in their experience with him. Highly recommend!!



divorce questions answered



Long Island Divorce Guide

Fill the form to download Guide

* indicates required


Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., P.C. respects your right to privacy. We will never sell your information to any third party. Follow this link to read our full privacy policy.


Child Support & Spousal Maintenance Tools
Spousal Maintenance Calculator
Child Support Calculator

Pin It on Pinterest