full custody of the children

How to I Get Full Custody of the Children?

Custody of the children is often one of the most contentious points in divorce. Unless one party fully agrees to give up custody, it can be a battle and will no doubt drive up the cost of your divorce.

So if you want full custody of the children, the first step is to ask your ex. If you can settle it on your own, it does not have to become part of your court case. Chances are, if you are wondering about full custody, asking your ex may not be an option, or he/she has already said no.

Next, be sure to review our post about the different types of custody. That way you know whether you’re arguing for legal or physical custody — or both.
full custody of the children
Abuse of either you or your child/children is one reason a judge will grant you full custody. Whether you have a protective order against your spouse or not, if you can prove abuse, a judge cannot give the other parent custody without good reason. However, this is not a guarantee of your case; it’s important to speak to your attorney.

Joint Custody
If abuse is not a factor, it is common for a court to award partial, or joint, custody, spending time with both parents. In the event that one parent is awarded full physical custody, the judge may grant legal custody to both parents, meaning you and your ex must agree on decisions that impact the child.

How a Judge Decides Custody

If your custody disagreement goes into court, a judge will decide based on several factors. There is no bias toward the father or mother. The judge is looking for a home where the child will be:

  • Safe
  • Well-fed and clothed
  • Supervised
  • Receiving enough emotional support

The judge will also consider who has been taking care of the child thus far and whether one parent abuses drugs or alcohol. The judge may take the child’s opinion into consideration, but may not. The judge will consider both parents’ hours spent working, income, home environment, past histories, and more. Be prepared to open up your life and be ready to ask for character witnesses. You may collect evidence to support your case, but speak to your lawyer about doing so legally so the evidence may be used in court.

In short, there is no guaranteed way to gain sole physical or legal custody of your child. Speak to an attorney about your specific case and why you feel it’s the best option for your family. He or she can then recommend the best approach.

Here are a couple of resources with more detail about custody:
Child Custody
How Does Child Custody Work in North Carolina?
North Carolina Child Custody Questions

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