Family Court is one place where verdicts can change lives – for the better.
“[Family Court] is different; it’s one of the courts that can make very positive decisions and do positive things for families,” said Vaunda Strachan, Family Court chief clerk.
Strachan, who has been chief clerk for over a year after serving seven years as deputy clerk, said she has remained in the Family Court because of the positive effects it can have.
The happiest cases are the adoptions, Strachan said.
The Family Court hears over 45,000 cases per year. The most common cases that pass through the court regard custody and child/spousal support – these make up about 50 percent of the case load.
“Even just a child receiving child support from a parent who didn’t want to pay is another example of the positive effects,” she said.
Though there are often favorable outcomes, Strachan also must deal with parties that are upset with a judgement.
“In trial court, sometimes people are not happy with a decision by the judge,” she said. “I will go out and speak to the person and listen to the complaint; never advise, but tell them different procedures – whether an objection or an appeal – they can follow.”
The staff of 150 also creates a great environment to work in, Strachan said.
“It’s a great place to work. Most people who start in family court, stay,” she said, adding she has a great working relationship with Family Court Supervising Judge Carol Stokinger, which helps the court run smoothly.
Stokinger was appointed to the Family Court bench in 2000 by Rudy Guiliani and appointed Supervising Judge of the court by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2009.
The Queens Family Court is located at 151-20 Jamaica Avenue.