Divorce is never a good thing for a couple. And if there is a child involved, it can be even tougher. You and your ex-spouse may disagree on child custody. But you’ll have to go through a legal battle in court.
Knowing how to file for custody is not enough to win a custody battle. You’ll have to see the type of custody a judge can verdict. And if you want full custody, things can be really challenging.
In this article, we will look at how to get full custody of your child. There are quite a few things to consider. So, here is a complete discussion.
Types of Child Custody
Before we get into full custody, you need to know the type of custody options. Different child custody agreement has different laws and parenting rights.
Here are 4 types of child custody you will come across during the court fight.
Physical custody means physically getting the child. This type of custody refers to the child spending the most time with which parent. The child will also live with the parent who gets the physical custody.
Joint physical custody is the most common form of physical custody. This means that both the parent gets equal time with the child. But any one of the parents is the legal guardian of the child.
Sole physical custody is an option as well. This decision comes when one of the parents lives far away. Or, if one of the parents poses a potential danger to the child, the other parent will get sole physical custody.
Legal custody gives one of the parents take legal decisions of the child. This includes education, healthcare, religion, and others. Legal custody can also be either sole or shared legal custody.
In sole legal custody, the custodial parent doesn’t need to consult with the non-custodial parent. But joint legal custody is much more common today. It gives both parents to decide important aspects of the child’s life.
Another name of full custody is sole custody. As the name suggests, full custody gives one parent all the legal authority over the child. But it is the toughest decision to get in your favor.
In a full custody arrangement, you get all the rights over the child. But the other parent can still see the child. You will be determined the legal parent of the child. And so, you can also request the court for supervised visitation from the other parent.
Joint custody is mostly common anywhere in the world. Both parents get an equal amount of share of the child. This means that both parents are legally authorized to make important decisions in the child’s life.
Joint custody includes parenting plans. Both parents agree with the terms. Or the court can intervene and ensure that the child gets enough time with both parents.
Factors Considered in Full Custody
After reading the previous section, you might want to get full custody of your child. There are a few factors that can help you make a strong case. So, here they are:
The child’s best interest
Any court will first look into the child’s best interest. As a result, you will need to provide clear and strong reasons why joint custody is not the best option. For example, you can claim that your ex-spouse has substance abuse issues.
The judge will look into your courtroom demeanor. This helps the judge to determine how to fit you are for sole custody. For example, the judge will consider not having angry outbursts a good courtroom behavior.
The dress you wear in the court during the legal proceedings is also very important. The judge will look into your attire inside the court before giving the verdict. It is an excellent practice to be formally dressed inside the court.
Your preparation also matters a lot to win full custody of your child. You have a case in your hand, and you need to win it. So, you must be fully prepared with strong evidence and documents to support your claims.
Legal Consideration of Getting Full Custody
There are a few legal considerations of full custody as well. They can vary from state to state. But every state court will look into these matters before giving a decision. Any court will look at the following:
- The child’s paternity
- The relationship of each parent with the child
- The distance between each parent from one another
- History of domestic violence or substance abuse
The court proceedings are extremely lengthy and complex. As a result, you might try to come to a sole custody agreement with your ex-spouse outside the court. But in most scenarios, this is highly unlikely to happen.
So, what do you do in such a situation? You will have to reach out to the court and file a case. You and your ex-spouse will need to go through a legal battle. And the judge will eventually give a decision on the matter.
What is Considered as the Best Interest of Your Child?
Family courts in Canada will always consider the best interest of the child. In most cases, joint custody is considered the most beneficial one. This is because the child gets equal time and availability from both parents even after their separation.
But knowing the best interest checklist can help you request full custody. You will have to prove that you are the one to ensure them for the child. And the other parent does not have the best interest of the child.
So, judges will consider the following things in making custody decisions:
- The parent’s ability to offer security and stability to the child
- The ability of the parents to fulfill the basic needs of the child
- The relationship between the child and each parent
- The preference of the child, if the child is matured enough to express opinions
- History of domestic violence, substance abuse, or negative influence
- The house location of the parents
If any of them negatively impacts the child, the judge will give a decision accordingly.
Why You Should Get Full Custody of Your Child
Seeking full custody of your child has many underlying reasons. Of course, you want your child to be always with you. But you will also have to think about the child’s safety and need fulfillment.
The first thing to look into is the security of the child. Does the child have enough protection at the other parent’s house? Does the other parent harm the child in any way? If there is not enough protection, you can seek full custody as a protective measure for the child.
Then comes the physical and mental health condition of the other parent. You should consider full custody if the other parent is mentally unstable. Mental illness can bring unpredictable circumstances over the child’s life. It is better if the child stays with you completely in such a situation.
Another important consideration is substance abuse. The other parent could be an alcoholic, or the other parent may be using drugs uncontrollably. This can trigger child abuse at home. As a result, you should not doubt seeking full custody in this case.
How to Get Full Custody of Your Child
So, now that you have decided to seek full custody, how do you get it? There are some things to consider. We have already covered those factors. But there are more!
At first, you will have to prove to the court the relationship between you and the child. It needs to be healthy, loving and aligned with the arrangements. This also includes proving that you can provide the child with a secured and stable home.
Now comes the topic of the other parent. You will have to prove that the other parent is incapable of providing these to the child. Your ex-spouse does not have a strong relationship with the child. And the child actually has risks of abuse and harm from the other parent.
Here are some situations from the other parent that can make the judge rule a verdict in your favor:
- Domestic violence
- Substance abuse
- Sexual or physical abuse
- Mental health illness
So, you will need strong evidence and documents to support your case. Also, you will need to cooperate with the court. There are many legal things to consider as well. So, find a good lawyer to support you through the process.
So, now you have some idea about how to get full custody of your child. You must think about what the child needs and desires. The court will also consider the child’s best interest at any cost.
Full custody is a rare decision to come from the court. So, you will need to have a strong case to win the battle. The best thing you can do is gather strong documents and proof.
Does child custody law differ from state to state?
Yes, child custody law can differ from state to state. As a result, you will need to be familiar with the specific laws of your state.
How does the court determine child custody?
The court takes several factors into account before deciding on child custody. The most prominent of all is the best interest of the child. This includes the child’s safety, basic need fulfillments, relationship with the parent, and other things.
Do you need a lawyer to get full custody of your child?
Child custody laws can be complicated for a regular parent. So, it is best if you hire a professional attorney to fight your case. The lawyers are experienced and skilled in fighting child custody battles.
What are the advantages of full custody?
Full custody of your child allows you to keep your child with you forever. You are the legal parent of the child. So, you can take every important decision of the child. But the other parent can still visit the child from time to time with court orders.
What are the disadvantages of joint custody?
Joint custody has quite a few disadvantages. Firstly, the child might be moving from one parent to another a lot. If the parents are uncooperative, it can greatly harm the child. And finally, the child might be exposed to a substance or physical abuse at the other parent’s house.