New York Child Custody
In New York, if you have a Family Law case to take to the courts to resolve, it is the New York Family Court who will hear your case. This is the Court holding authority in cases covering a variety of issues: perhaps you need to resolve Child Support, have to settle a Child Custody case, have a Visitation modification post divorce issue, or are bringing a case about an Order of Protection or Abuse and Neglect. It probably comes as no surprise that, generally speaking, trying to settle a Child Custody case is often the hardest one addressed by two people in the process of separating. In recognition of this, a New York Child Custody Lawyer in the offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has prepared the below overview of what you might need to know as you go through your Child Custody case in the New York Family Courts.
Wherever you live in New York, if it’s in the suburbs of Suffolk County or the center of Manhattan—a verdict in your Child Custody case will be based on a specific question: What result does the Family Court Judge regard as in the child’s best interest? If this standard seems rather vague to you, you’re not alone. Rest assured, however, that your New York Child Custody Lawyer is familiar with the specific factors that a New York Family Court Judge actually will analyze as they work toward reaching a decision in your case. We will further explain the Judge’s process below, but first you should be aware of the types of Child Custody forms that may be handed down in New York. They are:
Full Custody, which is as straightforward as it sounds: when you are granted Full Custody, it means that you have been given control in each decision that affects your child’s welfare and life. What does this encompass? For just a few of the major examples, it means that you decide where your child’s primary residence is, how you will educate your child (choice of school, etc.), and you choose the doctors your child will see and the faith in which they’ll be raised.
Physical Custody, alternatively known as Residential Custody, which is just what it states: it specifies where the child’s primary residence will be. Whomever the child lives with in the Physical Custody arrangement will also make the choices that shape the child’s daily life. So the Physical Custody parent can choose what to feed the child, what the best bedtime is for the child, and so on.
Joint Custody (Shared Custody), which is, as the word suggests, an arrangement under which both parents are allowed to share equally in the main decisions around raising their child. It’s also key to understand that, in Joint Custody, it will not matter if you have Physical Custody or not; this does not change the fact that parents share in the decisions equally.
As we already pointed out, the outcome of your New York Child Custody issue is going to rest on addressing the question of your child’s best interests. As our New York Child Custody Lawyer will explain, in answering this, the New York Family Court starts off with an assessment of the primary caregiver role. The Court must seek to comprehend which parent has assumed responsibility for the tasks that comprise the child’s everyday care. They’ll look into which parent has been helping get the child ready for school and helping with homework, which parent has been taking their child to doctors’ appointments? And which parent has been preparing meals as well as helping get the child off to school?
This evaluation leads the New York Family Court Judge toward a determination as to the primary caregiver. Additionally, if another perspective is considered to be useful in finding an answer here, the New York Family Court Judge has a valuable option at their hands: The may appoint a Law Guardian (who is a New York Family Lawyer). If this happens, you should understand the role that will be played by the Law Guardian. The duty of representing your child falls to this person, who will interview your child in order to be able to bring their opinion about the Custodial parent back to the Court.
At Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC, you can find a New York Child Custody Lawyer who not only offers familiarity with the above issues, but additionally knows that further factors potentially can influence your case. We will help you prepare for these factors, which can reach from an investigation into either parent’s background to what your child states that he or she wishes to happen. Talk to us today for initial advice—which will cost you nothing—by calling 800.696.9529. Right away, we’ll schedule your meeting with us in whichever of our offices you prefer. You’ll find us all throughout NYC—in Manhattan, in Kings County (Brooklyn), over on Staten Island, we’re also located in Queens and up in the Bronx. Our Long Island locations are both in Suffolk County and Nassau County; for residents north of New York City we also offer a Westchester County location.