Bronx Child Custody
As its name suggests, Family Court is the court that handles a legal case involving your family. It is the court with authority to make rulings in a family law case, whether that case concerns Child Custody, involves a question of Child Support, is regarding Visitation as part of a divorce or an Order of Protection, or if it’s an Abuse and Neglect case. A Bronx Child Custody Lawyer realizes that resolving the question of Child Custody is usually the most difficult issue a couple must resolve when they are separating. To help you through this potentially painful situation, a Bronx Child Custody Lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has summarized the basic information you need to know about your Child Custody case in the Bronx.
The Bronx Family Court is at 900 Sheridan Avenue, at the corner of 161st Street. If you’re heading there, by car, take the Major Deegan Expressway to Exit 5—East 161 Street to Sheridan Avenue. Metered parking, along with parking lots, can be found near the courthouse. By public transportation, use the B, D, or 4 train to get to the 161st Street stop (Yankee Stadium); or buses 1, 2, 6, or 32. The Family Court is just a short walk from Yankee Stadium.
The Bronx Family Court phone number is 718-618-2098. Their hours are Mondays and Fridays from 8 am to 5 pm., and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays they’re open from 8 am until 8 pm.
Whether you’re in the Bronx or elsewhere in the state of New York—from Westchester to the borough of Manhattan—you need to understand that the legal standard for deciding your Child Custody case boils down to a single thing: What outcome will the judge determine as being in your child’s best interests? This may seem to be a fairly vague standard. Your Bronx Child Custody Lawyer can, however, walk you through the specific factors which will be evaluated by a Family Court Judge in reaching a verdict in your case.
For example, a Bronx Family Court Judge will start by analyzing one question: Which of the child’s parents has acted as the primary caregiver? In order to answer this, the Court looks at who has taken responsibility for most facets of the child’s care on a daily basis. In other words: Which parent attends to basic needs every day—dressing the child, getting the child to school or to doctors’ appointments, helping with homework, and ensuring the child is bathed and fed?
If necessary, the Family Court can call on a key resource to help make a custody decision: a Law Guardian. The Law Guardian, who is a Bronx Family Lawyer, is appointed as needed by the judge and then functions as the child’s representative. He or she will interview the child, and then ultimately recommend which parent should, in their view, be named the Custodial parent.
A Family Court Judge might award the following types of custody:
- First, there is full custody, which is just what it seems to be: The parent granted full custody gets full decision-making authority with respect to all areas of a child’s care. This means that they decide, without needing input from the other parent, where the child will live, which school the child will attend, which religion/faith the child will be raised in, and any other decisions affecting the life and welfare of the child.
- There is also Physical Custody, otherwise known as Residential Custody. A Bronx Child Custody Lawyer recognizes this as the most basic custodial form, and will explain to you that it determines the location of the child’s primary residence. A parent awarded Physical Custody has authority over decisions affecting the everyday routine, such as what the child eats, when he or she goes to bed, and when he or she does homework.
- Finally, there is Joint Custody often referred to as shared custody. With a Joint Custody arrangement, both parents retain equal power to make decisions about major aspects of their child’s life. If you share Joint Custody, it won’t matter whether or not you have Physical or Residential Custody of your child—each parent participates in any significant decisions affecting their child.
Because your Child Custody matter can potentially involve many factors—such as whether a relocation is possible, what the child’s expressed wishes may be, and even your own background—you need a Bronx Child Custody Lawyer on your side. At Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC, we can assist you in navigating all aspects of your case to negotiate the most suitable arrangement for you and your family. Contact us for free advice, without obilgation, by calling 800.696.9529. We’re available and ready to meet with you in our offices in the Bronx, in Manhattan (New York County), in Brooklyn, in neighboring Queens, or even on Staten Island. Also, if you prefer, come to our Long Island offices—we’re both in Nassau County and in Suffolk County—or our Westchester County office.