Are you ready to commit to what could be a long and taxing battle for the full custody of a child? Most judges avoid granting full custody, so it’s a tricky topic at best.
It’s worth taking an honest look at why you want full custody.
The question to ask is, “What is best for the child?” It’s also the line of logic you need to prove your case to the courts.
Here are TEN STEPS to follow if you want to secure full custody of your child.
Do you have a lawyer, stacks of organized documents, and enough evidence on-hand to support your arguments? This is the level of thorough preparation required.
Evidence of preparation equates to a caring and resourceful parent in the eyes of the court.
2. Understand Different Types of Child Custody
In the spirit of preparation, let’s define the different types of custody.
Physical custody is the parent’s right to live with the child.
There can be sole physical custody or joint physical custody. For simplicity’s sake, physical custody means the right to stay in the same location as your child.
Legal custody means exerting authority in raising your children.
Sole legal custody means that no input is required from the other parent. The doctor, school, or religion to follow is up to the parent who has been awarded legal custody.
Full custody happens when joint legal and joint physical custody proves to be “bad” for the child. It usually involves a lengthy court battle, and this extreme outcome is rare.
Joint physical custody, joint legal custody, or a combination of the two equates to a joint custody arrangement. It entails visitation schedules (based on housing, work, and school) related to the child’s needs.
3. Understand Family Court
There are a few matters as important to discern in family court as:
- Paternity—establishing the identity of the child’s biological father.
- Relationship—the quality of each parent’s relationship with the child.
- Distance Between Parents—how far the child will have to travel to visit each parent.
4. Compose Yourself in Court
Don business-professional attire for court days and let the image carry over to your demeanor. Emotional outbursts, interruptions, or a focus on revenge will not help you convince the judge that you hold your child’s best interest at heart.
5. Prove Other Custody Arrangements are Bad for the Child
It is the crux of your argument.
Iron out a clear and succinct argument on why anything other than full custody is detrimental to your child’s well-being. You need evidence to prove your case.
6. Negligent, Unfit, or Abusive
The following factors tend to convince the court to grant full custody:
- Domestic violence
- Physical or Sexual Abuse
- Mental illness
- Alcohol or Drug Abuse
- Relocation (Is your ex moving soon?)
7. Cooperate (appear in court) and Show Interest
Consistency is key.
Take dates and times seriously.
Always come prepared.
Don’t back down when your opponent makes a move against you.
8. Put Emotions Aside and Strive for an Agreement With Your Ex
The courts want to see that you are willing to cooperate with the other parent. It reflects that you have the child’s best interests at heart.
9. Provinces and Territories
Read about which provinces or territories are in play, in terms of residence.
The laws vary depending on your location.
10. Request an In-home Custody Evaluation
A wise pre-emptive measure is to request an in-home custody evaluation.
It shows that you are fully prepared for the process with nothing to hide.
Follow these ten tips to get full custody of a child and secure your family’s future. Remember to keep the child’s well-being at the forefront of all discussions and negotiations.