Building a Case for Full Custody


Determining child custody can be emotionally draining and stressful. While it is better for parents to mutually consent to a custody plan, many times their views differ on whom the more capable guardian is. If parents cannot decide on how custody agreements are established, the court may be involved. In particularly contentious cases, a parent may use custody as an advantage over the other. If you are going custody battle, it is important to build a strong case.

Often parents will seek full custody over their child. This includes both legal and physical custody. Legal custody allows a parent full discretion when deciding how the child is raised, discipline matters, education, medical care, and religion. Physical custody refers to the primary residence of the child. Full custody grants a parent both privileges.

What the Judge Considers in Regards to Custody

Judges base their decisions about child custody on the standards upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court referred to as the “child’s best interest.” These standards prioritize the needs and well-being of the child or children.

General factors the judges consider:

  • Age of child – While many courts are moving away from the traditional views of giving the mother custody, they will take into consideration the age of the child. If they are a baby who is nursing, the judge may favor the mother in custody decisions. However, this does not mean that the courts rule out the father’s interests.
  • The child’s attachment to both parents – If one parent provided the majority of care, the child will be more inclined to bond with that parent. The court discerns whether separation from the primary parent will cause more harm than good.
  • Parents’ present economic and emotional situation – Parents should be financially and emotionally stable enough to take care of their child. The judge looks at whether the parents can support the needs of their children, both physically and psychologically.
  • Co-parenting skills – Part of the child’s best interests includes a relationship with both parents. Judges will want to see if the parents will foster avenues of communication between their kid and the other parent. They want a guardian who promotes the connection.
  • Child’s preference – The judge significantly considers a child’s preference. In fact, after the age of 14, California kids can choose with whom they would like to live.
  • Stability and safety of living environment – If a child grew up in a specific home and community, they set roots there. The judge will consider this before making the child move. They will also consider the safety of the kid in that home. They want to see if the parents have any history of drug use or abuse, which will limit custody.

Some cases will automatically negate a parent’s right to their child. If an individual has a history of domestic violence or sexual abuse, the judge will assign full custody to the other parent.

Building a Case

If you are going through a divorce and cannot come to an agreement with your ex over custody, you may need to start building your case. Having an experienced child custody attorney on your side can make the process smoother. However, if you believe that your case may go to trial, you can start preparing in advance. Here are some factors to consider when strategizing. Remember, the better your plan is, the advantage it will give you over your ex.

Know Your Role and What You Want

When you appear before a judge, you will need more than your status as “mother” or “father.” You will need to know how to raise a child, what you can do to establish a safe and healthy environment for them to grow up in, and what being the sole custodial parent really means. The judge will question how involved you are in your kid’s life. You should know as much as possible about their schooling, their daily habits, and their favorite activities. Understand that full custody entails a lot of responsibility.

Organize and Keep Records

Documents can serve as tangible proof of all you do for your child. Keep a journal for interactions you believe are significant and will help you case. Keep receipts and notes on the care you provide. The judges want to know what you do, specifically, rather than what your ex does not do.

Choose Witnesses

During the trial, the judge may call forth witnesses to comment on your character and capability as a parent. Give some thought to whom you would want to speak on your behalf. It should be someone who knows you as a parent and can speak of the way you and your child interact.

At Family Law Advocacy Group we understand how important it is to have custody of your child. If you are fighting for your kid during a divorce, contact our Rancho Cucamonga attorneys today. We will help you build a strong, effective case with which to advocate full custody. We offer free consultations so that we can review your case. Call today!

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