How Do I Get Full Custody Of My Child? A Comprehensive Guide

Getting full custody of your child can be a challenging and emotional process.

Full custody means that you have both physical and legal custody of your child, which means that your child lives with you and you have the authority to make important decisions for your child.

How to get full custody of your child
How to get full custody of your child| FAMILYTIES

Full custody is different from joint custody, where both parents share physical and legal custody of the child.

There are many reasons why you may want to get full custody of your child, such as if the other parent is abusive, neglectful, unfit, or absent.

However, getting full custody is not easy, as the court will consider the best interests of the child and the rights of both parents.

Therefore, you need to be prepared and follow the necessary steps to increase your chances of winning full custody.

Step 1: Establish Parentage, If Necessary

If you are the biological father of a child born out of wedlock, you may need to establish your legal relationship with the child before you can seek full custody.

This can be done by signing a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form or by filing a petition for paternity in court.

The court may order a DNA test to confirm that you are the father of the child.

Establishing parentage will give you the right to seek custody and visitation, as well as the responsibility to pay child support.

If you are the adoptive parent or legal guardian of a child, you may already have full custody of the child.

However, if the other parent or guardian is still involved in the child’s life, you may need to terminate their parental rights before you can get full custody.

This can be done by obtaining their consent or by proving that they are unfit or have abandoned the child.

Step 2: Determine If You Can Resolve the Issue of Custody Outside of Court

Going to court can be costly, time-consuming, and stressful for both you and your child.

Therefore, it may be better to try to resolve the issue of custody outside of court, if possible.

This can be done by negotiating with the other parent or by using mediation or collaborative law services.

These methods can help you reach a mutually agreeable custody arrangement that meets the needs and preferences of both parents and the child.

If you are able to resolve the issue of custody outside of court, you will need to put your agreement in writing and submit it to the court for approval.

The court will review your agreement and make sure that it is fair and in the best interests of the child.

If the court approves your agreement, it will become a legally binding order that both parents must follow.

Step 3: Determine If You Have Grounds to Seek Full Custody

If you are not able to resolve the issue of custody outside of court, you will need to file a petition for custody in court and prove that you have grounds to seek full custody.

The court will consider many factors when deciding who should get full custody, such as:

1.The physical and mental health of both parents and the child
2.Emotional bond and relationship between each parent and the child
3.Ability and willingness of each parent to provide for the child’s needs
4.Stability and safety of each parent’s home environment
5.Preference of the child, if old enough
6.History of domestic violence, substance abuse, or criminal activity by either parent
7.The cooperation and communication between both parents

The court will generally favor joint custody over full custody, unless there is evidence that joint custody would harm the child or that one parent is unfit or unavailable.

Therefore, you will need to show that full custody is in the best interests of the child and that you are able to provide a better care and environment for your child than the other parent.

Step 4: File Court Papers in the Home State Where the Child Lives

To start the legal process of getting full custody, you will need to file court papers in the state where your child lives.

Child custody
Child Custody | Who Wins

This is usually called the home state, which is defined as the state where your child has lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months before filing.

If your child is less than six months old, then the home state is where your child was born.

You will need to fill out various forms depending on your state’s laws and procedures. These forms may include:

1.Petition for custody, where you state your request for full custody and explain why it is in the best interests of your child
2.A summons, where you notify the other parent that you have filed for custody and that they have a certain amount of time to respond
3.Declaration or affidavit, where you provide factual information and evidence to support your request for full custody
4.Proposed parenting plan, where you outline how you plan to share time and responsibilities with your child
5.A financial statement or affidavit, where you disclose your income and expenses

You may also need to pay a filing fee and provide copies of your child’s birth certificate, your identification, and any previous court orders or agreements regarding custody or support.

Find the forms and instructions on your state’s court website or at your local courthouse.

You may also want to consult a lawyer or a legal aid service to help you with the paperwork.

Step 5: Serve the Other Parent With Papers

After you file your court papers, you will need to serve the other parent with a copy of the papers.

This means that you will need to deliver the papers to the other parent in person or by mail, depending on your state’s rules.

You cannot serve the papers yourself; you will need to ask someone else who is over 18 and not involved in the case to do it for you.

Serving the papers is important because it notifies the other parent that you are seeking full custody and that they have the right to respond and participate in the case.

The other parent will have a certain amount of time, usually between 20 and 30 days, to file a response or an answer to your petition.

In their response, they may agree or disagree with your request for full custody and provide their own reasons and evidence.

If the other parent does not respond within the time limit, you may be able to get a default judgment, which means that the court will grant your request for full custody without hearing from the other parent.

However, if the other parent does respond, you will need to proceed to the next step.

Step 6: Make an Argument for Your Preferred Custody Arrangement

After both parents have filed their court papers, the court will schedule a hearing or a trial to decide who should get full custody.

The hearing or trial may take place in front of a judge or a jury, depending on your state’s laws and your preference.

The hearing or trial may also be preceded by other steps, such as:

1.A mandatory mediation session, where both parents meet with a neutral third party who tries to help them reach an agreement on custody
2.Custody evaluation, where a professional evaluator interviews both parents and the child and observes their interactions and home situations
3.A guardian ad litem appointment, where the court appoints a lawyer or a social worker to represent the best interests of the child
4Temporary custody order, where the court grants one parent temporary physical and legal custody of the child until the final hearing or trial

At the hearing or trial, both parents will have the opportunity to present their arguments and evidence for why they should get full custody.

This may include:

1.Testifying under oath and answering questions from the judge, jury, or lawyers
2.Calling witnesses who can support your claims and testify on your behalf
3.Submitting documents and exhibits that can prove your facts and allegations
4.Cross-examining the other parent and their witnesses
5.Making opening and closing statements that summarize your case

You should also dress appropriately, behave respectfully, and follow the court’s rules and etiquette.

Step 7: Honor the Court’s Final Decision

After hearing from both parents and considering all the evidence, the court will make a final decision on who should get full custody of the child.

The court will issue a written order that states its findings and conclusions and explains its reasons for granting or denying full custody.

The order will also specify how physical and legal custody will be divided between both parents, as well as how visitation, child support, and other issues will be handled.

You should receive a copy of the order by mail or in person.

Read it carefully and make sure you understand it.

You should also follow it exactly as it is written.

If you do not agree with the order or think that it is unfair or wrong, you may be able to appeal it to a higher court.

However, appealing can be difficult and expensive, and there is no guarantee that you will win.

Therefore, you should consult a lawyer before deciding whether to appeal.

Getting full custody of your child can be a long and complex process that requires patience, persistence, and preparation.

However, by following these steps and seeking legal help when necessary, you can increase your chances of achieving your goal and protecting your child’s best interests.

 

Leave a Comment