Full custody of a child assigns you full responsibility of all decisions concerning the child’s upbringing. This effectively disqualifies any sort of influence the other parent would have on a child, legally speaking, as it relates to the day-to-day. There are many reasons why one might acquire sole legal custody and it is a long-term decision that has a significant impact on both parents and the child in question.
Full custody is desirable if you want to be the one making decisions on schooling, religion, healthcare, and housing, and you don’t want interference from the other parent. With full custody, there is no requirement that you have to take into account anyone else’s wishes nor would anyone have a legal right to prevent you from acting on your wishes for the child.
Below are ten tips on how to get full custody of a child:
1. Full Custody Doesn’t Mean Full Separation
Full custody doesn’t mean you’re cutting off the other parent completely, unless you want to. Through full custody, you make the decisions.
This means there isn’t a legal right for you to allow your child to spend time with the other parent but you are allowed to. The term ‘full custody’ merely means you are the decision-maker.
2. Judges Favor Joint Custody Arrangements
How to get full custody of a child can be tough in a lot of situations because most judges undoubtedly prefer joint custody arrangements. A judge will likely prefer both parents to be involved in raising a child.
Considered a last resort in the eyes of the legal system, you have to provide the court with a strong reason to grant full custody to you.
3. Common Reasons People Get Full Custody
In situations where there is violence and/or abuse, this is where most full custody arrangements are granted. For example, the husband has a history of physical abuse.
Assuming this can be supported with hospital records and police reports that clearly demonstrate the violence, awarding sole custody to the wife is not uncommon.
4. Where A Child Needs Regular Decision-Making
In other situations, such as in the case of a disabled child, they require a lot of decision-making. When parents fail to agree on so much or where there is a lot of miscommunication and disagreements, a judge may deem it more rewarding to the child to have a single parent as decision-maker. This is also a situation where someone can work to be granted full custody.
5. Showing the Unavailability Of A Parent
Another dynamic here full custody may be awarded is when one of the parents is somehow unavailable or unable to communicate for periods of time. This can be for innocent reasons including work situations or professional travel.
It can also stem from alcohol or drug abuse, or unavailability due to mental health issues.
6. When Instability is Enough For Full Custody
You can establish instability on various counts. There may be mental instability, such as hospital stays, depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues that you can show impact the child or parent’s decision-making.
There’s financial instability, such as loss of or lack of employment. Instability can also come from alcohol and drug abuse, past or future physical absences, and regular relocations for professional or personal reasons.
7. When A Parent Has Been Neglectful
When a parent has been neglectful or when there’s a strong chance they could neglect their child, this further supports the argument that full custody is needed.
A child who is being threatened in any way, directly or indirectly, even with neglect raises eyebrows in a courtroom and can strengthen one’s case.
8. What You Won’t Get Full Custody From
If you are applying for full custody out of spite, because you don’t want any contact with the other parent, or simply because you think you’ll be a better parent than the other, these unfortunately aren’t reasons wherein a judge would grant it. You must provide proof and evidence that it’s in the best interests of the child to be with you.
10. How to Present Full Custody As Favorable
All custody isn’t wholly a bad thing for the other parent, either. In processes of mediation or discussions outside of the courtroom, you may want to present it as such. Full custody can be affordable, reducing the need to have two homes for the child.
It also allows the other parent to pursue their interests, cuts down on the communication between parent and parent, and eliminates the stress that can come with being responsible – partly or otherwise – for a child.
11. Speak To A Lawyer
You can get full custody of your child without a lawyer. It’s possible. That said, it is strongly advisable to hire a family lawyer to get full custody of a children.
They can look at the facts and recommend the right strategy as well as present the best argument to the courts that full custody is in the best interests of the child.