How To Get Full Custody Of A Child: Best US Practices

How to get full custody of a child

Every year, almost 747,000 divorces occur in the United States. Custody disputes are common in divorces, as parents struggle to do what is best for their children. You may want full custody of your child, but the court system may not always agree with you. Although most family courts agree that shared custody is the optimum option, there are some cases where full custody is acceptable. You want the best for your child, which may include securing full custody following a divorce or family dispute. Learn how to obtain full custody of a child in Texas.

Although there are other types of child custody arrangements, a family court will normally consider full custody and joint custody. Simply said, full custody designates one parent as the primary custodial parent; that parent enjoys the bulk of custody time as well as legal rights to the child. Joint custody is an arrangement in which both of the child’s parents share physical custody of the child, with one parent possibly maintaining legal custody.
A full custody arrangement is one in which only one parent assumes all obligations for caring for and raising their child. When the following circumstances exist, the primary custodial parent may be granted full custody:

  • One of the parents is ill, crippled, or otherwise incapacitated.
  • The other parent has been found unsuitable to raise a child by the court.
  • The other parent has been imprisoned or has a significant criminal record; and/or
  • The other parent has a history of abuse or neglect.
Read Also: Reasons a Judge Will Change Custody Order: Top 7+ Picks

When a parent is granted full custody, it means that they are the sole parent who has both legal and physical custody of their child. However, having full custody does not imply that the other parent has no visitation rights. In some full custody instances, the noncustodial parent may have limited visitation with their child. Although there are some variations between the two custody arrangements, full custody, and sole custody are frequently used interchangeably. As an example, sole custody often means that the noncustodial parent is not granted any visitation or custody rights.

It is usual for the non-custodial parent to be obliged to contribute to the kid’s upbringing by paying child support on a monthly basis. However, this is dependent on the circumstances of each individual case.

Factors to Consider When Considering Full Custody of a Child

Parents seeking full custody of a child should evaluate the following criteria, which may be decisive in court:

#1. Best interests of the child:

In most cases, the family court decides that it is best for parents to share custody of a child. A parent seeking full custody should be prepared to show clearly why joint custody would not be in the kid’s best interests, such as if the other parent has a history of substance abuse or of leaving the child home alone for extended periods of time.

#2. Courtroom manner:

A judge may make a decision on a parent’s fitness for full custody based in part on the parent’s demeanor in court. For example, if a parent wishes to obtain full custody, they should refrain from interfering with the procedures and try to retain their composure while avoiding emotional outbursts.

#3. Courtroom attire:

During a custody fight, a court may consider the parent’s attire as a factor in evaluating whether the parent will be awarded full custody. Parents should dress formally and avoid wearing casual attire.

#4. Preparedness:

A judge will evaluate a parent’s level of preparation before awarding full custody. Preparation includes things like whether the parent has an attorney or real paperwork to back up their claim to full custody.

How to Obtain Full Custody of a Child in Texas

In the Texas family law system, you can battle for two types of custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody is referred to in Texas law as “possessory conservatorship,” while legal custody is referred to as “managing conservatorship.” Your child lives with you full-time if you have sole physical custody. If you have sole legal custody, you usually have the following rights:

  • Determine where your child will live.
  • Consent to your child’s healthcare,
  • Hold or spend child support money,
  • Take care of your child’s legal difficulties.
  • Make educational decisions for your child.
  • Accept your child’s marriage,
  • Apply for and retain your child’s travel paperwork.
  • Allow your child to serve in the military, and
  • Make use of your child’s earnings and services.

You can battle for one of these types of custody. Once you’ve decided what type of child custody you want, you’ll need to figure out how to file for it.

How to File For Full Custody of a Child in Texas

In a family court, there are two ways to obtain full custody:

  • Applying for single custody or joint custody.
  • You can file a petition to have the other parent’s rights terminated.

You begin your case by submitting a custody or termination petition in the court where your child resides or in the court where your divorce is heard (if applicable). The citation is then served on the other parent or anybody else with custody rights.

You need to know how to fight for your viewpoint now that you know how to start your case.

The Most Effective Way for a Mother to Get Full Custody of a Child In Texas

Remember that the regulations and standards for obtaining sole custody in Texas apply equally to moms and fathers. However, if a mother drank alcohol or unlawful, nonprescription medications while pregnant, her parental rights may be lost.

If you suspect that the other parent of your child will try to use this argument to terminate your rights, you should consult an attorney straight away. And you should gather as many records as possible to demonstrate that you did not participate in such behavior. Also, retain any documentation that show that a father claiming custody is not legally qualified to be a parent.

Can a Father Be Granted Full Custody?

Despite the fact that the courts do not discriminate against fathers, relatively few have full custody of their children. According to census data, men make about 17.5 percent of custodial parents.

Though there could be various reasons behind this, it’s difficult not to feel discouraged if you’re a father seeking full custody. While the process is difficult, it is not impossible.

Most judges strive to make decisions that are in the best interests of the children. When awarding full custody to one parent is best in the absence of problems such child abuse or substance use disorders, this frequently means keeping contact and relationships with both parents.

Whether you are a father going full custody or joint custody, you should do everything possible to prepare for the child custody negotiation that lies ahead. You can get the desired result by establishing the best case for custody.

When Should I Apply for Sole Custody?

The most obvious reason to seek sole custody is to safeguard your child from physical violence, particularly if the other parent has a history of any of the following issues:

  • Abuse: If a parent has assaulted or sexually abused the other parent or any child, their child is clearly at risk.
  • Neglect: If a parent has previously ignored the child, this neglect may continue. Neglect is defined as failing to give a child with the essential medical care, dental care, supervision, food, clothes, housing, or other protections to ensure the child’s well-being.
  • Substance abuse: A parent who abuses drugs or alcohol puts his or her child in danger. The changed mental state caused by substance misuse makes it impossible for the parent to properly care for the child. A child should be shielded from a parent who is mentally ill and exhibits erratic and unpredictable conduct. A child, for example, should never be left with a suicidal parent.
Read Also: What Does Child Support Cover? Full Details

Aside from physically protecting the child, there are other reasons to acquire sole custody:

  • Abandonment: Sometimes parents are unable or unwilling to care for their children. If a parent shows little interest in their child and fails to keep in touch with them, you may want sole custody so the parent does not reappear years later to exercise custody rights as a virtual stranger.
  • Incaceration: When a parent is incarcerated, they are unable to provide a home or care for their child. You may choose to pursue exclusive custody in this scenario, and the other parent may have visitation with the child following their release from prison, if suitable. If you believe that taking your child to see a parent in prison may emotionally injure the child, don’t do it.

If a parent intends to relocate out of the state or nation, it may be best for one parent to have exclusive custody.

Above all, exclusive custody should be granted for the benefit of the child rather than to deprive the other parent.

What are my odds of being granted sole custody?

The likelihood of obtaining sole custody varies substantially depending on the facts of your case.

Most courts begin with the notion that spending time with both parents benefits children. They are aware, however, that joint custody is not always appropriate.

  • If you and the other parent reach an agreement on sole custody, the judge will usually approve it.
  • If the other parent does not object to your plea for sole custody, a judge is usually compelled to grant sole custody.
  • When the other parent decides to fight for custody, you could be in for a long fight. Prepare to demonstrate why sole custody is in the best interests of the child and to offer proof of any claims you make.

How To Obtain Full/Sole Custody of a Child Without Going To Court

A mother who gives birth while unmarried automatically gets sole/full custody of her child unless a court determines otherwise or she and the father legally recognize his parenting.

In addition, the child’s lone living parent normally has sole custody.

Otherwise, reaching an agreement with the opposing parent is your greatest choice for obtaining full child custody without a trial. If you and your partner think that your child would benefit from exclusive custody, include this in your custody agreement. Include information on any decisions your child can make for the noncustodial parent, when your child will spend time with that parent, and how you will support their relationship.

Attempting to terminate the rights of the other parent

Filing to terminate someone else’s parental rights is a harsh step, yet it is sometimes required. We understand how difficult it must have been for you to come to the decision to terminate the rights of your child’s other parent.

Parental rights are not easily terminated in Texas. To terminate their parental rights, you must demonstrate that the other parent:

  • They have abandoned your child,
  • Put your child in danger,
  • Have neglected your child.
  • A child was seriously injured or killed as a result of your actions.
  • Committed a number of criminal offenses,
  • Participated in various types of substance misuse, or
  • Their parental rights to another child were revoked due to endangerment.

To show that the other parent did one of the above offenses, you may need to gather appropriate police records, court documents, medical reports, protection orders, and testimony. A high threshold to meet is clear and persuasive proof. Hiring a professional child custody attorney who can fulfill this threshold for you is your greatest bet for success.

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