Staten Island Custody Lawyer
Are you in the midst of a legal case that concerns a family matter, and/or an issue concerning your children? If so, you should know that your case—a family law case—will be handled by Family Court. This is the court which makes rulings in any family law issue—in other words, cases that concern Child Custody as well as Child Support, or cases that center on a Visitation issue or a post divorce modification issue, an Order of Protection, or a case of Abuse and Neglect. A Staten Island Child Custody Lawyer is aware that the process of settling the issue of Child Custody typically is the hardest aspect of a couple’s separation. To aid you with this situation, a Staten Island Child Custody Lawyer on staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC here presents information about Child Custody cases in New York, and what you should know about your case in Staten Island.
First, let’s cover the basics: You will find the Richmond County (Staten Island) Family Court at 100 Richmond Terrace on Staten Island, just 2 blocks west of the St. George Ferry Terminal.
The hours for the Family Court are Mondays from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Tuesdays through Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Doors open daily at 8:00 a.m.
If you’re traveling by mass transit, take Staten Island Rapid Transit train or any of the Staten Island bus lines to the St. George Ferry Terminal. If you’re driving, take the Staten Island Expressway and exit at Bay Street/Lily Pond Rd, then turn left at the light and follow the street to its end. Turn left onto Bay Street, and continue on it until you reach the Ferry Terminal. Then turn left on Richmond Terrace and continue two blocks. The Richmond County Family Court will be on your left, and you’ll find municipal parking on Hyatt Street.
For further information, contact the Richmond County Family Court at 718-675-8800.
On Staten Island as well as throughout New York State—from Manhattan to east of the city in Nassau County—the legal standard by which your Child Custody issue will be decided is this: What does the Judge believe to be in the child’s best interests? Many parents feel like it’s hard to come up with a black-and-white answer to this, as it can seem somewhat vague as a legal standard. However, your Staten Island Child Custody Lawyer should explain that there are in fact specific factors that a Staten Island Family Court Judge will evaluate in order to get to a verdict.
For instance, a Staten Island Family Court Judge will begin by attempting to determine which parent has been acting as primary caregiver. The answer to this will be reached by examining who has taken the most responsibility for facets of everyday childcare. So, it comes down to which of the child’s parents has attended to his or her basic needs—getting dressed, getting to school or to a doctor appointment, getting help with homework, and being bathed or fed.
When it is necessary, the Family Court can choose to bring in a key resource to the case—one who will help in determining who’s the primary caregiver. This resource is a Law Guardian, an individual who is a Staten Island Family Lawyer and appointed if believed necessary by the Family Court judge. The Law Guardian’s role is to act as the child’s representative, interviewing the child in the process of coming up with a recommendation about which parent should be designated as the Custodial parent.
A Staten Island Child Custody Lawyer can help you understand the different types of custody that a judge can award, which are described below.
- Full custody, under which a parent is granted full authority to make all decisions about the child’s care. The parent with Full Custody has sole authority to decide where the child should live, to choose the school the child attends, and to select which religion or faith they will raise the child in—along with any other decisions that affect the child’s life and welfare.
- Physical Custody—the most basic form of Child Custody—might also be awarded. This form is also known by the term Residential Custody, since it simply involves denoting the child’s primary residence. If you are awarded Physical Custody, it means that you have authority to make the decisions affecting the everyday routine for your child—from what that child eats to when they must do homework or go to bed.
- You might also be awarded Joint Custody, commonly called shared custody. In a Joint Custody situation, both of the parents have equal power over decisions that affect the significant aspects of a child’s life. When you have Joint Custody, it does not matter if you also have Physical Custody or Residential Custody—both parents will have the right to participate equally in major decisions.
A Child Custody case potentially will be affected by a range of other factors you might not be aware of. Your case could hinge in part on your child’s expressed wishes, and may even bring up aspects of your background or the other parent’s. To help negotiate your way to an acceptable resolution for your family, you need a sympathetic and skilled Staten Island Child Custody Lawyer. Call 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to arrange a no-obligation free initial consultation with Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC. With offices throughout all of New York City’s boroughs, we can meet you not only on Staten Island but also in Manhattan, in the borough of Brooklyn (Kings County), in neighboring Queens, as well as in the Bronx. And if it’s easier, you can schedule a meeting in our Westchester County office or in one of our Long Island offices—choose to come to either the location we have in Nassau County or Suffolk County.