In New York City, the Family Court is the court that will hear any matter that involves children and families. It has the authority to make legal decisions in cases such as Child Custody, Visitation, Child Support, Orders of Protection, as well as Abuse and Neglect. However, it does have jurisdiction to grant a divorce. A Manhattan Child Custody Lawyer can explain that Child Custody generally is the most difficult issue that separating couples must resolve. To help you through it, a Child Custody Lawyer from the team at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC gives you basic information, below, about Child Custody cases in the state of New York.
You will find the Family Court in lower Manhattan at 60 Lafayette St, located between Leonard Street and Franklin Street. Its hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and it has night court sessions Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Petitions can be filed as late as 6:45 pm.
When you go to Family Court, it is recommended that you use public transportation. Parking lots and garages can be found in the area, though street parking is very limited.
By Subway: 4 or 5 train to Brooklyn Bridge; 1 train to Franklin Street; or C, N, R, or 6 to Canal Street.
By Bus: Lines 1, 6 or 15
In New York, the basic legal standard for deciding a Child Custody case—whether you’re in Brooklyn or out east in Suffolk County—is determining what is in the child’s best interests. To some, this may seem like an ambiguous standard, but there are specific indicators a Family Court Judge will evaluate in making a decision about Child Custody. However, before we discuss those specifics, first it is key to understand each of the 3 different kinds of Child Custody arrangements available in the state of New York.
Full custody. When a parent has full custody, that parent holds the right to make any and every decisions about the child’s care, from the child’s residence to education and overall welfare. These decisions will include choosing the child’s school, selecting the child’s doctors, and determining the religion or faith in which to raise the child. These choices are some among many examples illustrating the decision-making power that the parent having Full Custody holds.
Physical Custody. As any Manhattan Child Custody Lawyer can tell you, Physical Custody (sometimes referred to as Residential Custody) is the most basic kind of Child Custody. Simply put, Physical Custody denotes where a child lives as a primary residence. A parent with Physical Custody has the power to make any decisions about the child’s day-to-day routine, from what the child eats to when they go to bed and when they do their homework.
Joint Custody (aka) Shared Custody. As its name indicates, Joint Custody is when both of a child’s parents are given equal decision-making authority in any of the big decisions in the life of their child—regardless of which of the parents might have residential custody.
As previously mentioned, in a Custody Case the legal standard on which a decision is made is the best interests of the child. Several factors will be considered by a Manhattan Family Court Judge in resolving a Child Custody issue. The first aspect of the situation that will be analyzed is basic: Who is considered the child’s primary caregiver? In answering this, the Court tries to determine which parent is responsible for daily care for the child. In other words, who is attending to the child’s everyday needs, such as getting the child dressed and preparing him or her for school, providing help with homework, feeding and also bathing the child, and taking the child for doctor appointments?
These are the factors evaluated by a Family Court Judge to determine which parent is the primary caregiver. If needed, another resource available to the Court in a custody case is the appointing of a Law Guardian. As a Manhattan Family Lawyer appointed by the Manhattan Family Court judge, a Law Guardian represents the child (or the children’s) best interests in the custody case before the court. The Law Guardian interviews the child/children involved, and then gives an opinion to the Family Court regarding which parent, in their view, should be the Custodial parent.
Each Manhattan Child Custody Lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC realizes that there may be further factors considered in the duration of your case. The court might, for example, look at the background of either parent, whether there’s a possibility of the parties relocating, along with the child’s own wishes. That is why we offer you no-cost, no-obligation advice. Call us at 800.696.9529 and arrange your first meeting—in our offices throughout New York City, in Manhattan, as well as in Queens, in Brooklyn and in the Bronx, and in the borough of Staten Island as well. Or come to our Westchester County office or our Long Island offices, which are in Suffolk County along with Nassau County.