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Queens Child Custody Modification

Courts in Queens or anywhere in the state of New York do not take child custody modification lightly. A change of child custody can be difficult and disruptive for a child, so the court will need to see a substantial change in circumstances that makes it in the best interests of the child. It is always better for both parents to agree to matters involving their children. But even if the parents agree, they will still need the court’s approval. The child will have some say in the matter, and their opinion counts more the older they get. But a court must also consider additional factors. If you are either seeking or fighting a change in custody, if you want a good outcome, you should consult with an experienced Queens child custody modification lawyer. Your attorney can present your best case to the court. They can also explain other options to you including possibly child visitation modification and child support modification.

Let’s Talk About What Custody Means

There are actually two different kinds of custody, legal and physical. Legal custody is the authority to make important decisions for the child such as whether or not they should have surgery or where they go to school. Often parents have joint legal custody, but not always. Physical custody is with whom the child lives. The noncustodial parent then has visitation rights. Sometimes time is split evenly between parents, but that is not the norm in order to give the child some stability and for practical reasons such as where they go to school. In this article, we are primarily discussing modifications in physical custody, but you may want to consult with your Queens attorney about child custody modification for both types of custody.

Either Parent Can Seek Child Custody Modification

If the parents do not agree to a child custody modification, the lawyer of the party who wants the modification must petition the appropriate Queens court. The custodial and the noncustodial parent are both permitted to petition.

There is a belief that a mother can usually get any change in custody she likes, but this is not the case. The court will deliberate based on the best interests of the child, and will consider many factors, but the gender of the parents is not one of them.

Custody Factors a Queens Court Considers

As previously mentioned, there must be a substantial change in circumstances before a court will modify child custody. It will not revisit custody just because a parent has decided they want custody. However, it is helpful to look at factors the court considers when initially determining child custody, because these are the same factors that can be important when considering modification. These include:

  • Who has primarily taken care of the child. If the child has lived with the custodial parent for a long time, the court will be more hesitant to change custody.
  • Parents’ work schedules. If one parent is home a great deal while the other travels two weeks at a time, that is an important consideration.
  • Parents’ home environments. If one parent has a proper home for the children in a location with good schools and community activities while the other is living out of a hotel room, that court will consider that.
  • Parenting skills
  • How well each parent can take care of a child with special needs
  • Parents’ mental health and physical health including abuse of drugs or alcohol. A court will not put a child at risk knowingly.
  • Domestic violence history.
  • Where the child would like to live, which is weighed heavier as the child ages
  • Each parent’s willingness to facilitate a good relationship with the other parent
  • Who has physical custody of the child’s siblings

Here are a few examples of what a judge might consider a change in circumstance substantial enough modify child custody:

  • The custodial parent has a substantial change in schedule: If a custodial parent has such a significant change in schedule, perhaps due to work, that they can rarely see the child, the judge might grant custody to the other parent.
  • The custodial parent wants to move away with the child: In order to move with a child, the custodial parent must either get the other parent’s consent or petition the court. In some cases, the judge may decide it is more beneficial to the child to remain in the area, and if the noncustodial parent is willing, it is possible the judge might order a child custody modification and give custody to the formerly noncustodial parent.
  • The parent is putting the child at risk: If one of the parents is putting the child at risk, perhaps by drinking excessively or taking drugs, the Queens judge may decree child custody modification to be in the child’s best interests and award custody to the other parent.
Queens Child Custody Modification Lawyer

If you believe that a change in circumstances is so substantial that they warrant a change in child custody, contact a Queens attorney experienced in child custody modification to discuss your options. The attorneys at the law offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have the experience to provide you with the representation that you need. We have years of experience successfully representing clients who have custody, visitation, support and other family law issues. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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