NY Custody Lawyer

When you reside in NY State, the NY Family Court will be the decision-maker in legal cases concerning your family, including those centering on the children in your family. The areas over which the NY Family Court has authority range from Child Custody cases, cases to set Child Support or Visitation arrangements, and even Orders of Protection or alleged cases of Abuse and Neglect. The only area the Court does not have jurisdiction over is divorce. In general, resolving the question of Child Custody will likely be the hardest issue addressed by any couple who has decided to divorce or to separate. Therefore, to help you prepare for and understand aspects of your Child Custody case, a NY Child Custody Lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC created the summary here, walking you through the process of determining Child Custody in New York.

Legal Standard for Deciding Custody

Regardless of where you’re residing in NY, from the suburbs of Westchester County to the outer borough of Staten Island—your Child Custody case will be judged one specific question: What outcome does the Judge believe will be in your child’s (or your children’s) best interests. We understand that this standard might seem to you as a vague one. However, your NY Child Custody Lawyer will explain that a NY Family Court Judge will in fact analyze indicators that are quite specific in the process of reaching his/her decision in a Child Custody case. This process will be explained below; first, let’s define the 3 types of Child Custody which can possibly be granted to you in NY.

Custody Types

  1. Full custody. This custodial form is perhaps the most straightforward: when you’re given Full Custody, you’re given control over all of the decisions in your child’s life and care. So you will be the parent who is deciding 1) where your child lives as his/her primary residence, 2) how your child is educated and which school you want them to attend, 3) which doctors you want to be responsible for your child’s healthcare, 4) the faith or religion (if any) in which you’ll raise your child. Many more decisions also will fall exclusively to you; these are just a few of the most major examples.
  2. Physical Custody. A NY Child Custody Lawyer is aware that Physical Custody is the basic form of Child Custody arrangement. It occasionally can be referred to as Residential Custody, and what it denotes is just what the name states: it specifies the primary residence for your child. Because the child lives with him/her, a parent with Physical custody therefore will be the parent making the decisions that affect the child’s daily routine. For instance, that parent will be the one who chooses what their child eats and selects the appropriate bedtime, among many other decisions.
  3. Joint Custody. As it suggests, being awarded Joint Custody, means that you will have shared custody, as each parent retains equal control over decision making when it comes to any major decisions regarding the child’s life and welfare. With Joint Custody, this will be the case no matter which of the 2 parents may hold Physical Custody.

The Process to Determine a Custody Case

As mentioned earlier, your NY Child Custody case will be decided based on the question of what result is, in the Court’s view, in a child’s best interests. To answer this question, the Court begins by assessing who acts as primary caregiver for the child. The Court will want to understand which of the parents assumes responsibility for tasks around the child’s daily care? In other words, which of the parents helps with homework and takes their child to any doctor’s appointments? Which normally prepares meals and also gets the child dressed and off to school?

This kind of analysis will bring your NY Family Court Judge to a determination about the primary caregiver in the family. If a Family Court Judge wants, she or he has the option of enlisting help from a useful resource in getting to a determination: a Law Guardian. If the Family Court Judge appoints the Law Guardian—and this individual is also a NY Family Lawyer—the appointed Law Guardian then has the task of representing the child. The child will be interviewed by the Law Guardian, who then brings to the Court an opinion about who between the parents should be viewed as Custodial parent.

Other Factors

Each NY Child Custody Lawyer from the offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has familiarity with other factors that can affect your Child Custody case—factors you might not be prepared for. We realize that the Court might choose to look into the background of either parent in the case, can take into account a possible relocation, and also weigh the wishes of your child.

Therefore, it’s important for you to secure quality legal representation. Get free initial advice by dialing 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529)—we will schedule a meeting with you in any of our NY offices found throughout each borough of New York City—Brooklyn (Kings County), Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens, and also in the Bronx. If you’re on Long Island, come to our Nassau County office or come to our Suffolk County office. And if you’re in the northern New York City area, you can visit our Westchester County office.

1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529)