How To Get Sole Custody of Your Children

There was a time when the U.S. legal system stated that children belonged with their mothers and favored mothers in custody disputes. Nowadays, the law generally stated it is in the children’s best interests to be raised by their parents, and states increasingly favor agreements in which parents share custody. To have full custody of her children, a mother must show that a different custody arrangement would badly affect them.

Before you choose to pursue full custody, however, you should know your motives. Do you want sole custody to punish your ex, or do you really think that your former mate is not fit to share custody of your child?

Ask your family law attorney about child custody issues

Family courts all over the nation mostly agree that joint custody is the best arrangement for the child. This arrangement makes the child see both parents on a regular basis. Unless your ex poses a threat to your child and has a history that gives a pattern of unsafe behavior, you should ask your goal to win full custody.

While your ex may have hurt you, gaining full custody to avoid interaction with your former mate isn’t a reason for full custody.

Family courts all over the nation mostly agree that joint custody is the best arrangement for the child. This arrangement makes the child see both parents on a regular basis. Unless your ex poses a threat to your child and has a history that gives a pattern of unsafe behavior, you should ask your goal to win full custody.

While your ex may have hurt you, gaining full custody to avoid interaction with your former mate isn’t a reason for full custody.

Best Interests of the Child Standard

Sole custody


Laws governing marriage and divorce differs per state, so the state you reside in will determine the types of custody arrangements suitable for you. Most states now see the best interests of the child standard to make sure custody without preference for parental gender. Factors the court weighs to make this determination adds the child’s age and specific needs; parents’ fitness and capability to care for the child; history of abuse or neglect; bonds between parent and child; and sometimes even the wishes of the child. Courts tend to favor the parent who can very well provide the most suitable environment for the child.

Joint vs. Sole Custody


One parent can have sole physical or legal custody of the children or both physical and legal custody. Sole physical custody means the child resides exclusively with one parent, while sole legal custody means that one parent — normally the one with physical custody — gets the exclusive right to decide about the children’s health, education and religious upbringing. A parent with sole custody can share legal custody with the other parent, who normally has the right of regular visitation. In joint custody agreements, which the court often favor, both parents typically share legal custody of the children; but, depending on the state, it can also mean the parents share both physical and legal custody. It is easier for mothers to get sole physical custody of very young children since courts often give sole custody to the parent who has been the child’s primary caregiver.

Alternatives to Going to Court


Parents usually work out custodial arrangements without going to court. Sometimes they can decide between themselves that the children are better off living with the mother, especially to small children. If ever there is a dispute over custody, mediation can often resolve it without the need for litigation. The mediation process is usually required before parents can take the matter to court. In mediation, a neutral third party guides you to work out arguments over parenting plans. If mediation did not work and you must go to court, you cannot use your gender as the sole justification for being awarded sole custody; this is now regarded by the legal system as a social stereotype.

Factors for Getting Sole Custody


To win sole custody, you must show the court that awarding you custody is in the best interests of your children due to some factors such as your existing relationship with the child; stability of the home and life you provide; inability of the father to meet the child’s needs; the father’s lack of involvement in the child’s life; father’s failure to financially provide support to the child; father’s violent behavior toward you or the child; or father’s addiction issues. In total, you must demonstrate that not granting you full custody would somehow be harmful to the children. Even if you have sole custody, a court will usually grant the child’s father visitation rights, unless it justifies that to do so would be dangerous to the child.

Family Law Attorneys: Reasons To Have One

Family law attorneys are not only meant to represent you (or a member of the family) in a court of law but also help you make sound decisions about your family. Some of the best family law attorneys will even strive to ensure every family member is covered, particularly if one finds him/herself on the wrong side of the law. The lawyer can also offer help and advice, especially when going through a divorce, seeking child custody, alimony, drafting wills, and even executing your will.

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