What Is Full Custody of a Child? Full Guide To Parents

When parents separate or divorce, they have to decide how to share the care and responsibility of their children.

This is called child custody.

Divorcing Mom

There are different types of child custody arrangements, such as joint custody, sole custody, and split custody. In this article, we will focus on full custody, also known as sole custody, of a child.

What Does Full Custody Mean?

Full custody means that one parent has the legal and physical custody of the child. Legal custody means that the parent has the right and duty to make major decisions about the child’s welfare, such as education, health care, religion, and residence.

Physical custody means that the child lives with the parent most of the time and receives care and supervision from the parent.

The parent who has full custody is called the custodial parent, while the other parent is called the non-custodial parent.

The non-custodial parent may still have visitation rights, which means that they can spend time with the child according to a schedule agreed upon by both parents or ordered by the court.

However, the custodial parent has the final say in matters related to the child’s upbringing and well-being.

How Is Full Custody Determined?

Full custody can be determined by agreement or by court order. Ideally, parents can work together to create a parenting plan that outlines who has full custody and how visitation will work.

The parenting plan can be part of a separation agreement or a divorce decree if the parents are ending their marriage.

The parenting plan will be legally enforceable once both parties agree to it in court.

However, if the parents cannot agree on full custody, they may have to go to court and let a judge decide.

The judge will consider various factors to determine what is in the best interests of the child. Some of these factors are:

  • The age and needs of the child
  • The relationship and bond between the child and each parent
  • The ability and willingness of each parent to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs
  • The stability and safety of each parent’s home environment
  • The history and pattern of involvement of each parent in the child’s life
  • The preference of the child, if they are old enough to express it
  • The mental and physical health of each parent
  • The presence of any domestic violence, substance abuse, or criminal activity by either parent

The judge will weigh these factors and decide which parent should have full custody based on what is best for the child.

The judge may also order a custody evaluation, which is an assessment conducted by a neutral professional who interviews the parents, the child, and other relevant people, such as teachers, relatives, or counselors.

The evaluator will then write a report with recommendations for the judge.

What Are the Benefits and Challenges of Full Custody?

Child custody in Carlifonia
Child custody in Carlifonia| Mitchell

Full custody can have both benefits and challenges for the custodial parent and the child. Some of the benefits are:

Some of the challenges are:

  • The custodial parent has more responsibility and stress for taking care of the child alone.
  • The custodial parent may have less time and resources for their own personal or professional goals.
  • The custodial parent may face legal challenges from the non-custodial parent who wants to change or modify the custody arrangement.
  • The child may miss or feel alienated from the other parent or their extended family.

How Can Parents Make Full Custody Work?

Full custody can work well for some families if both parents respect each other’s roles and cooperate for the sake of their child. Here are some tips on how to make full custody work:

  • Communicate clearly and respectfully with the other parent about important issues regarding the child, such as health, education, or emergencies.
  • Follow the visitation schedule and be flexible when possible to accommodate special occasions or events.
  • Encourage and support the child’s relationship with the other parent and their family members.
  • Avoid badmouthing or criticizing the other parent in front of or to the child.
  • Seek professional help or counseling if you or your child are struggling with emotional or behavioral issues related to full custody.
  • Take care of yourself and your own well-being by finding support from friends, family, or community resources.

Full custody is a serious decision that affects both parents and their children.

It is important to understand what it means, how it is determined, and what are its benefits and challenges. By following these tips, parents can make full custody work for their families.

Leave a Comment