Legal Guide

A Guide to Getting Sole Custody

A divorce case involving children can be challenging to navigate. Parents often argue over who should have custody of the kids, leading to heated and intense courtroom battles.

Usually, courts award joint custody, meaning both parents have some custodial rights. However, there are times when the jury awards one parent with sole custody.

If you are a parent looking to secure sole custody of your children, here is a guide to help you through the process.

Differentiating Between Sole Custody and Joint Custody

Before delving into the specifics of obtaining sole custody, it's essential to distinguish between sole and joint custody. Sole custody grants one parent full legal and physical custody of the child. On the other hand, joint custody involves sharing legal and/or physical custody between both parents, typically in an arrangement where the child spends significant time with each parent.

Sole custody is classified into sole physical custody and sole legal custody. In a sole physical custody arrangement, children primarily live with one parent, while the other parent typically has visitation rights. Conversely, under sole legal custody, one parent has decision-making authority over significant aspects of the children's lives, including education, religion, and medical care.

Although a parent can have sole physical and legal custody, this scenario is relatively rare. In many cases where one parent has sole physical custody, the parents may still share joint legal custody, necessitating collaboration on major decisions concerning the child.

How to Get Full Custody

Acquiring full custody can be complex, particularly when courts prefer joint custody arrangements. However, there are circumstances where the jury might favor this type of custody. 

To increase your chances of acquiring full custody, you must demonstrate the request is in the child's best interest. This involves emphasizing factors such as their safety, well-being, and overall development.

In addition, you must establish that co-parenting with your spouse is not feasible due to significant conflicts or an inability to cooperate effectively. This could include instances of ongoing hostility, inability to communicate about important decisions or a history of unsuccessful co-parenting attempts.

When presenting your case for full custody, providing sufficient proof to support your claims is vital. The evidence could range from documentation of any incidents of neglect to abuse or abandonment by the other parent. You may also produce records of any restraining or protective orders you have obtained due to concerns for the child's safety.

Do Courts Favor Mothers When Awarding Full Custody?

Traditionally, many courts tended to award custody to mothers more frequently than fathers. However, this trend has been shifting, with almost every state now having laws that acknowledge both parents' equal rights to custody.

However, you should note that each state may have its approach and level of progress in ensuring gender-neutral custody decisions. So, research and understand your state's specific guidelines and regulations regarding custody.

How a Law Can Help You Get Sole Custody

Navigating the legal complexities of obtaining sole custody can be overwhelming. For that reason, it may be wise to enlist the services of a family law attorney. 

"Gathering evidence, preparing legal documents, and presenting a persuasive case in court requires a thorough understanding of family law," says attorney Matt Towson of Towson Law Firm.

A lawyer has in-depth knowledge of the relevant laws, regulations, and court procedures for sole custody cases. They can assist in gathering evidence, preparing documentation, and presenting strong arguments in court.

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