How do you file to get full custody of a child?


Quick Answer

Individuals filing for full custody of a child must convince the court that it is in the child's best interests, reports Cornell University Law School. Courts often award full custody to a parent when the other parent has problems with substance abuse, child neglect or child abuse, states Nolo.

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How do you file to get full custody of a child?
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Full Answer

A parent seeking full custody of a child should consult a lawyer, be familiar with the state child custody laws, complete all necessary forms and be prepared for the court date, according to About.com. In proving the best interests of a younger child, a parent should emphasize that she has been the primary caregiver up to the present and can continue to efficiently provide shelter, food, clothing and medical care, reports Nolo. The best interests of an older child are best proved by continuity in education, relationships with peers and neighbors, and religious upbringing. A parent should also prove there is no physical danger to the child such as second-hand smoke and that the parent can provide the child with guidance and emotional bonding.

Although courts sometimes award full or sole physical custody to one parent, they most often award joint legal custody, as reported by Nolo. This enables the other parent to have visiting rights and a voice in decisions about the upbringing of the child. Even when one parent is awarded full custody because the court deems the other parent harmful, the court often allows the other parent supervised visitation rights.

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