If you are in the middle of any legal matter that involves your family and/or your children, the matter will be heard by the Family Court. This court is the one that holds the authority to make a legal decision in your family law matter, whether that matter is regarding Child Custody or Child Support, an issue of Visitation or an Order of Protection, or an alleged instance of Abuse and Neglect. A Brooklyn Child Custody Lawyer understands that, when a couple is separating, their Child Custody case is generally the hardest issue to resolve. To support you in this difficult situation, below is an overview of what you can expect during your Child Custody case in Brooklyn, prepared for you by a Brooklyn Child Custody Lawyer on the team of Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC.
The Brooklyn Family Court is located at 330 Jay Street, in Brooklyn, New York. The court’s phone number is 347-401-9600; their fax number is 347-401-9609. The hours the court is open are 8:30 am to 5 pm on Monday and Friday, and 8:30 am to 9 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. To get there by car, take the BQE to the Tillary Street exit.
It’s important that you understand that, in New York state—regardless of whether you’re in the middle of Manhattan or in Queens, up north in Westchester or in Suffolk County—the legal standard upon which your Child Custody case is going to be decided is a seemingly simple question: What is in the best interest of the child? This standard may seem vague; however, a Family Court Judge does evaluate specific indicators in order to reach a verdict about Child Custody.
For example, the factors that a Brooklyn Family Court Judge analyzes will start with this question: Who would be considered to be the primary caregiver? To answer this question, the Court examines which of the parents is chiefly responsible for aspects of the child’s everyday care. For example: Who attends to the basic daily needs of the child, from dressing him or her and preparing the child to get out the door and to school, to providing homework help, bathing and feeding the child, and overseeing aspects of healthcare (including doctor’s appointments).
In making a custody decision, including determining which of the two parents may be better suited to act as the primary caregiver, Brooklyn Family Court may draw on another resource: a Law Guardian. The Law Guardian is a Brooklyn Family Lawyer who can be appointed by a Family Court Judge to act as the representative for the child. A Law Guardian will interview the child as part of the process of recommending to the Family Court which parent, in their view, should be appointed as the Custodial parent.
The types of custody the Family Court Judge can award are full custody, physical custody, or joint custody.
- Full custody gives a parent decision-making authority over all aspects of the child’s care—from where the child resides to which school he or she attends, in addition to all other decisions about the child’s everyday life and welfare. Such decisions also include the selection of the child’s doctors and deciding what religion in which the child will be raised. These are just a few of the choices that fall solely to the parent who is awarded Full Custody of his/her child or children.
- Physical Custody, which is also known as Residential Custody, is the most basic type of Child Custody. A Brooklyn Child Custody Lawyer will explain that, as its name implies, Physical Custody is about where the child’s primary residence is found. The parent who has Physical Custody gains the authority to make all decisions about their child’s everyday routine, from selecting the food they eat, to choosing the child’s bedtime, as well as when the child does his or her homework.
- In Joint Custody or Shared Custody, as implied by its name, the parents share equal decision-making power over the major decisions in their child’s life. It does not matter which parent has residential custody; both parents will be part of any significant choices arising in the life of their child.
Your Child Custody case may involve other additional factors, such as the background of each parent, whether a relocation of any family members is possible, and what the child’s wishes might be. To help you navigate all such aspects of your case, and to negotiate the best arrangement for your family, bring your Child Custody case to Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC. You can start with a no-cost, no-obligation evaluation with a Brooklyn Child Custody Lawyer on our team. Simply call 800.696.9529 today and meet us at any one of our conveniently located offices. Whether its child custody or a divorce, we are found in all of New York City’s boroughs—schedule a meeting in Brooklyn, in Queens, in Manhattan, out on Staten Island, or also in the Bronx. We also have Long Island offices, both in Nassau County and also in Suffolk County. You can also meet in our Westchester County office.