Tuesday, July 16, 2024

How Can I Get Sole Legal Custody Of My Child

Heres Whats Considered When Determining The Best Interest For Your Child

How Can I Get Sole Custody? – Michigan Lawyers

For you to be able to get sole custody awarded from the New Jersey courts, youll need to provide evidence that your ex isnt capable of giving your child what they need. This may include:

  • If your ex is unable to cooperate and communicate with you on parenting matters
  • If your ex has unreasonably denied you parenting time
  • If theres evidence that your ex has been abusive or committed domestic violence
  • If your child is old enough to state a preference of who has custody and
  • If your ex has shown that he or she isnt fit to be a parent.

The court may also look at other issues such as the relationship between the parents and child/children, the closeness of the parents homes, and the amount of time a parent can spend parenting because of work responsibilities. Ultimately, if an issue has arisen to call into question whether the parent is acting in the best interest of the child, then the judge will want to hear it.

Basic Parental Rights In Texas

The first thing to understand when determining how to get full custody of a child in Texas is the scope of the general rights that every Texas parent has. Under Texas law, every parent typically has the right to have physical possession of their child.

Additionally, every parent normally has the right to participate in making legal, health, educational, moral, religious, relationship, and residential decisions for their child. Each parent also has multiple duties to care for and support their child.

When parents separate, Texas law wants both parents to share their parental rights and responsibilities. If you dont believe this sharing is possible in your situation, there are a handful of ways you can get sole custody in Texas.

On The Other Side Be Careful Not To Jeopardize Your Parental Rights

Some parents, usually fathers, will agree to let the other parent have full or sole custody because they want to resolve things quickly for their children. They may even feel compassion for the other parent or be holding out hope for reconciliation and step back because they want to make things go as smoothly as possible for the other party.

While being compassionate and easy-going is nice, agreeing to relinquish your rights to make decisions for your child can have lasting effects. We have even seen situations where a father handles his own child custody case and agrees to the mother being sole conservator.

Without proper legal advice, you could end up with much less access to your child than you desire, and the other parent could make decisions that you believe are not in the best interest of your child. In addition to the other parent having primary physical custody, he or sheas sole managing conservatormay also have the right to make all decisions regarding medical care, education and more.

In addition, should you decide to go back and seek a modification to your child custody orders later, the fact that the other parent was initially granted sole custody could raise red flags with the judge. He or she may question your ability to make decisions or be responsible for the child due to this fact.

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What You Can Do To Get Full Custody

Oklahoma law says that,

In awarding the custody of a minor unmarried child or in appointing a general guardian for said child, the court shall consider what appears to be in the best interests of the physical and mental and moral welfare of the child.

Thus, to get full custody, you would need to prove that full custody is in the childs best interests. Best interests is a vague standard, and it is intentionally vague. The state legislature leaves wide latitude to family court judges, because the judge can examine each family, and consider what is best for the children depending on each particular familys circumstances. There is no hard and fast rule for deciding what is in the childs best interests. One state statute says that you may introduce any relevant evidence unless another law excludes the evidence. The statute defines relevant evidence as

evidence that makes the existence of a fact of consequence more probable or less probable.

To put it another way, relevant evidence is evidence that is material and probative.

Material = evidence of a fact that is of consequence

Probative = makes the existence of a fact of consequence more or less probable.

Thus, if you have any evidence that has a tendency to show that sole custody is in the childs best interests, you may introduce this evidence.

Oklahoma law also says,

There shall be neither a legal preference nor a presumption for or against joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or sole custody.

File For Child Custody

Preparing for a Lawyer to Get Sole Custody of My Child

File a petition to begin child custody proceedings.

You can file a petition for child custody in your countys Superior Court. If you are divorcing, the petition will be included in your divorce papers. You must then serve, or deliver, custody forms to the other party using a process server or sheriffs office.

There are two types of child custody: physical and legal. The child lives with the party with physical custody. The party with legal custody can make major decisions for the child. When legal or physical custody is shared, one parent or guardian is designated as the primary custodial parent and has final say in parenting decisions.

Custody orders stay in place until the child turns 18. If life circumstances change and the custody order needs to be modified, one party can file a petition to modify custody. To modify custody, they must prove that there has been a material change in circumstances that will impact the childs well-being.

It is recommended that you seek legal advice before petitioning for child custody. You can find an attorney by visiting the State Bar of Georgias website.

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How A Court Determines Sole Custody

Joint custody is the standard arrangement among many family courts. In order to successfully win sole custody, a guardian must convince the court that sole custody would be in the childs best interest.

There are many reasons to want to seek sole custody:

  • Abuse or neglect
  • Mental illness
  • Living accommodations

You must demonstrate any reason as to why joint custody shared with the other parent would be harmful to the child. All reasons used as evidence in court should be clear and confirmed.

Another lesser-known reason is relocation. A parent can contest for sole custody if the other parent has decided to relocate and move out of state.

Types Of Custody Arrangements

There are 4 types of custody arrangements:

  • Sole legal custody One parent has the right and responsibility to make major decisions about the child, including ones about education, medical care, religion, and emotional development.
  • Both parents are involved in and responsible for major decisions about the child, including ones about education, medical care, and emotional, moral, and religious development.
  • Sole physical custody A child lives with one parent and the other parent has reasonable parenting time, unless the court decides that parenting time wouldn’t be in the childs best interest.
  • A child has periods when they live with each parent, so they have frequent, regular contact with both parents.

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Is Race Ever An Issue In Custody Or Visitation Decisions

Judges can’t consider the race of the parents when deciding custody or visitation. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional for a court to consider race when a noncustodial parent petitions for a change of custody. In Palmore v. Sidoti, 466 U.S. 429 , a white couple divorced, and the court awarded custody of the couple’s son to the mother. She remarried an African American man and moved to a predominantly African American neighborhood. The father filed a request to modify custody based on the changed circumstances from the marriage and the move. A Florida court granted the modification, but the U.S. Supreme Court reversed, ruling that societal stigma, especially related to race, cannot be the basis for a custody decision.

When A Parent Should Seek Sole Custody

How can I get full custody of my child?

In extreme circumstances, where a child faces real harm from one parent, the other parent should seek sole custody. Seeking full custody, then, should be reserved as a means of protecting a child from endangerment.

What are some circumstances where one parent should seek sole custody? What do you need to know about how to get full custody? Read on.

Abuse ranks at the top of the list.

A clear and present danger exists when one parent has a history of domestic violence or sexual abuse. The danger increases if they have acted out on the child or other children. In such cases, a child should be removed from the potential of real physical harm.

When one parent suffers from serious mental illness, removing a child from their custody may prove best for the child. This means the parent exhibits signs of irrational, unpredictable behavior and mental instability. This would include situations where one parent expresses suicidal thoughts or exhibits such behaviors.

Whether it’s alcohol or drugs, substance abuse also raises red flags for judges making sole custody decisions. When a parent is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they present a real threat to a child. This extends to when a parent abusing a controlled substance is unable to properly supervise or care for a child.

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The Best Interest Of The Child Standard

When you do have issues concerning the best interest of the child, you have to make a compelling argument that your proposed custody arrangement will actually be best for the child. Most of the time the reasons people are seeking sole custody is because its in their best interest. Theres a lack of communication about the child, or one parent doesnt stick to a consistent custody schedule, but that all deals with the parents. The best interest standard isnt particularly concerned with the parents inconvenience it has to be best for the child. Sure, it may make the parents life and communication more favorable and easy if they have sole custody, but its very hard if not impossible to show how those issues are actually in the best interest of the child. Remember, the word is best, not better, or good for, or accommodating, but its best.

You have that burden of showing thats best for the child. Even with reasons such as domestic violence between the parents, the judge will likely still allow both parents some amount of visitation if there is not documented abuse of the child. However, the judge may put other stipulations on the custody agreement, such as supervised exchanges, to ensure both parents feel safe and comfortable if abuse or domestic violence was an issue during their relationship.

The Meaning Of Sole Custody

When a parent has sole legal custody, they make major decisions for their child without needing input from the other parent. This is the opposite of joint custody where parents make major decisions together. Major decisions include:

  • Choice of school
  • Consent to join the military
  • Consent to get a drivers license
  • Authorization of non-emergency health care

The statutes specifically mention that major decisions are not limited to this list. For example, it could include other things like the ability to move with the child. Where the child lives day-to-day is called the childs placement. Placement is a separate issue from custody.

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Types Of Sole Custody

When it comes to requesting sole custody of a child, there are two types, legal custody, and physical custody. When you are awarded legal custody of your child you have been given absolute and complete authority over any decisions affecting your childs life. These decisions can range from child care, religion, school, healthcare and more. Absent significant issues with one of the parents, courts are inclined to order shared legal custody they want both parents involved in major decision-making for the child whenever possible. When the court system awards sole physical custody of the child that simply means that the child will live primarily with one parent, and usually have visitation with the other.

You may feel that you want to approach the courts and request sole legal custody of your child because you feel that your partner is an unfit parent. The way you feel about your partner and the way that the court system views them may actually be different. Most courts will not hesitate to give one parent sole legal custody if they deem that the other is unfit because of a drug addiction, alcohol dependency or has committed child neglect or abuse.

Gathering Evidence For The Custody Hearing

Child Custody Laws Arizona
  • 1Research your states custody law. The law governing custody arrangements is determined by the law of the state in which you live. Therefore, your first step should be to understand the law relating to custody for your particular state, which will outline the factors courts are allowed to consider when making custody decisions.XResearch source
  • You can start with this list of child-custody laws organized by state.XResearch source You can also find summaries of state custody laws online.XResearch source
  • Consider talking with an attorney in your area with family-law experience to get some advice regarding the specific laws of your state. Many attorneys will offer an initial consultation free of charge.
  • You can also search specifically for the custody laws of your state. Type in “child custody laws” followed by the name of your state. Many states offer resources regarding custody law, either through the state’s judicial branchXResearch source or the state’s Office of Attorney General.XResearch source
  • Most states use a standard aimed at ensuring that the “best interests” of the child are protected, which takes into account factors like the child’s age and individual needs, each parent’s ability to care for the child, any history of abuse/neglect, the bond between each parent and the child, and the wishes of the child.XResearch source
  • The court can grant either or both of these types of custody to either parent, or determine they should share custody .XResearch source
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    To Get Sole Custody In Massachusetts

    you can file with the court if you are either going through a divorce or if the child is born out of wedlock. The court system in Massachusetts must be petitioned if you are to gain sole custody. In addition to the reasons you feel your partner is unfit or a danger to the child, you must be prepared to present to the court why you should be the sole custodian of the child. Why its in the childs best interest to be only with you and/or having only you making the major decisions.

    Once, with the help of your family law lawyer, you have all the documentation and evidence organized that will help you prove your partner is unfit to be with the child, a complaint can be filed. You are trying to convince a court system that you can provide a safe and comfortable environment for your child, and that you can provide financially for your child or at least ensure her basic needs are met. Make sure you get copies of your pay stubs, your insurance and any pre-paid college planning you may have set up. This goes a long way in proving to the court you are the competent parent.

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    Are Courts More Likely To Award Custody To Mothers Than To Fathers

    In the past, many states provided that the court should order the custody of young children to the mother. Today, however, most states and courts have either rejected this preference entirely or relegated it to tiebreakers’ role if two equally fit parents request custody of their preschool children. Today, no state requires that a judge award a child to the mother without regard to both parents’ fitness. Instead, most states now require the court to determine custody based solely on what’s in the children’s best interests, without regard to the parent’s gender.

    If you are a father and want to ask the court for physical custody, do not let gender stereotypes stop you. If both you and the mother work full-time, and the kids have after-school care, you might be on equal footing when it comes to who is better situated to have physical custody. In fact, if you have more flexible hours than the mother, you might have an advantage. In any event, the judge will look at what’s best for the children. So if you think that you should have primary custody and that you can persuade the judge that it’s in the kids’ best interests, you should go ahead and ask for custody. If you present yourself as willing and able to parent, it will go a long way toward eliminating any lingering prejudice against you as a father.

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    What Does Sole Custody Mean For The Other Parent

    For the parent that does not have custody, it means they cannot make major decisions for the child. The parent with custody can talk to the other parent about decisions if they want, but ultimately, it is up to the parent who has custody.

    However, sole custody does not mean the other parent never sees the child. The other parent may still have placement or visitation with the child. Sole custody is not the same thing as termination of parental rights.

    Arguing Your Case At The Custody Hearing

    What are some Reasons one Parent would get Sole Custody?
  • 1Consider hiring a lawyer to help you. Custody battles can be long, complicated, contentious affairs. You will have to navigate relevant state law, prepare your case, and present it before a judge. Enlisting the help of an experienced family-law attorney can go a long way to helping you win your custody case, especially if the attorney has argued custody cases in front of the judge assigned to your case.XResearch source
  • If you do retain counsel, make sure to inform him or her of anything the other parent may be able to use to cast you in a negative light during the custody hearing. Giving your lawyer advance warning allows him or her to better prepare in order to mitigate any potential damage to your case.
  • 2Depose the other parent in advance. Before the custody hearing, you will engage in the process of discovery. This process allows you time to find out what the other parent plans to say at the hearing, either through his or her own testimony or that of a witness. During this process, you can question the other parent at a deposition, which is a legal proceeding that allows lawyers to ask questions of witnesses outside of court before the actual hearing. Your goal is to better prepare for the hearing, so try asking the following types of questions:
  • Do you believe that you are the best parent to have custody? If so, why?
  • Do you believe that I am a bad parent? If so, why?
  • Who do you intend to call as a witness?
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