Steve Burton and Courthouse


Steve Burton is highly experienced with an active practice in the Suffolk County Family Court.

The Suffolk County Family Court handles custody/visitation cases, abuse and neglect cases, orders of protection matters, juvenile crimes, paternity, child support, adoptions and other matters.



It is important to have an experienced attorney who knows the various nuances of juvenile crime defense to handle the case for your child. It is imperative that you call Steve Burton as soon as you realize your child has a potential problem, especially before the police or other authorities contact you. Parents need to be fully informed of the myriad of ways the court may deal with the disposition (punishment) side of these offenses, from various programs to and including placement at the O.C.F.S., which is essentially reform school in upstate New York. The type of program or placement can have a lifelong effect on the child. Of course, if the child is innocent of any criminal offense he or she needs aggressive representation which can involve a trial.


Child Neglect and/or Abuse Cases

Each year Suffolk County brings thousands of child neglect and or abuse cases. Suffolk County Child Protective Services (C.P.S.) is the agency who investigates and brings these actions by petitioning the Family Court.

If you receive a call from a C.P.S. investigator, you should seek immediate legal advice from Steve. Mr. Burton actively defends these matters and many times has had them dismissed or has been able to have the investigation closed as unfounded without the filing of formal charges. The public has to understand that C.P.S. gets tens of thousands of complaints and has an obligation to investigate each one regardless of whether they are true or not. There are many times when the agency errs on the side of caution, as they well should, and forms an opinion without knowing all of the facts which can be very detrimental to both the parents and their children. Most people do not know that Suffolk County Child Protective Services can post a notice on your door minutes before they bring an emergency petition before a judge and then have your children removed and placed into foster care in a matter of hours. It is so important to have experienced representation as soon as you think that there may be a problem. Each parent usually needs their own attorney due to potential conflicts of interest.

Mr. Burton has handled all types of child neglect/abuse matters inclusive of positive toxicology baby cases, educational neglect, inadequate guardianship, corporal punishment and most other types, even where C.P.S. alleges that the home is “too dirty”. Steve routinely speaks with the lawyers for the children who are also known as Law Guardians. There are many times that C.P.S. simply gets it wrong, or they base the prosecution on the statements of people who have an agenda against the parent, or they take a simple accidental act and "Monday morning quarterback it" by saying that it should not have happened. At times, C.P.S. may simply form a judgment too quickly. Steve has tried many of these cases which are called civil but can have greater, potentially more devastating consequences then criminal cases. These types of proceedings can involve foster care, and numerous mandated programs. They are extremely serious necessitating knowledgeable representation.


Termination of Parental Rights

Steve has handled many Termination of Parental Rights matters which are much more prevalent than one might think. Suffice it to say that if you are facing one of these proceedings or the County is in the process of laying the ground work for one via a history of neglect petitions with placements, they are one of the most serious matters that a parent can face. Steve defends as he would a murder case because if the parent loses the trial, they usually lose the child to adoption. There are times when the “potential adoptive resource” that C.P.S. indentifies has their own agenda and bias that needs to be explored during the trial. These are very serious matters and need experienced, aggressive representation.


Custody and Visitation Cases

There are many types of custody and visitation matters. Steve Burton handles all kinds of these cases, inclusive of the very difficult relocation cases. Relocation cases are very difficult to win. Mr. Burton has kept himself very current of the law in this area and after consultation with the client, can advise as to his judgment on their chances of prevailing in the Family Court. Of course, Steve Burton handles all types of visitation/custody matters, from the original custody order to petitioning to make changes to existing orders when there is a need or change in circumstances. Steve also handles enforcement of visitation by bringing contempt proceedings if a parent denies the court ordered visitation or if there is parental alienation.


Family Court Order of Protection Cases

Orders of protection are documents that should never be taken lightly and can have dire consequences if a person is not properly represented.

There are times when the judge may ask if you agree to the order of protection without making an admission of any fault on your part. Do not do make such a consent finding without first consulting with an experienced attorney! An order of protection you can have terrible results. A scratch to someone, instead of being a violation and not a crime at worst, is now prosecuted as a Felony Criminal Contempt and needs to be defended by experienced counsel such as Steve Burton. The client has to be very cognizant that he or she is being set up by their spouse, especially if a divorce action is in the works or contemplated, There are certain, limited, enumerated Family Offenses which can only be the basis for a Family Court Order of Protection and counsel needs to know what each of them are, whether the petition is legally sufficient on its face, and whether the petitioner can prove one or more of the enumerated acts. Mr. Burton is available to advise you in these most serious matters.