Can a Father Take Full Custody of His Child?
by Unbundled Legal Help
Yes, fathers may take full custody of their children. This is not the case in every situation, as it depends on the details surrounding the custody battle, but it is possible.
In most cases, the courts have one goal in mind when dealing with child custody issues: do what is in the best interest of the children. Many times mothers get primary custody of the children, but that is not always in the children’s best interest.
If you are a father seeking custody of your children, it is important to understand fully what this means and how to position yourself to gain full custody.
Understanding the Different Types of Child Custody
You might have heard the term “custody,” but the term does not have one sole definition—there are various types of child custody. It is helpful to understand the different types of custody available, most importantly full custody.
Physical Custody vs. Legal Custody
Physical and legal custody, as one can imagine, gives parents two different responsibilities.
A parent with physical custody may have the child live with them. Many states allow parents to have joint physical custody, with the children going back and forth between parents’ homes. In situations where the child primarily lives with one parent (the custodial parent), the other parent (the noncustodial parent) may spend time with the child for visitations.
A parent with legal custody may make crucial decisions regarding the child and their upbringing. This can include these decisions:
- Extracurricular activities
- Health care
In most states, courts prefer joint legal custody. However, if the parents do not communicate well or there is some obstacle making joint legal custody difficult or impossible, they may grant custody to one parent alone.
Joint Custody vs. Full Custody
Parents who live separately can be awarded joint custody or shared custody. Joint custody gives parents the ability to share physical and/or legal custody of their children.
Depending on the circumstances, the courts may award full custody to one parent. Typically, one parent receives full custody if the other parent is deemed unfit for whatever reason. In these scenarios, the child lives with the custodial parent full time, and that parent makes all of the important decisions. The other parent may get visitation rights.
Factors Affecting Custody Rights
Courts promote a child’s relationship with both parents. Awarding one parent full custody is not a decision taken lightly. The court emphasizes certain factors when determining whether to grant a parent full custody:
- The child’s age
- The child’s relationship with both mother and father
- The wishes of the child, if they are of a certain age
- Each parent’s living situation
Additionally, judges will consider any allegations made against a parent, including abuse or neglect.
If the court feels the child would be better off with the father, they will not hesitate to grant the father full custody.
Helpful Tips for Fathers Seeking Full Custody
Seeking full custody takes energy and lots of work. If you are a father wishing to get full custody of your children, keep these details in mind.
Strive To Become a Better Individual, for Yourself and Your Child
Courts love to see dedicated fathers willing to go the extra mile for themselves and their children. If you seek full custody, now is the time to step it up. Look for ways to better yourself and be there for your children. Do some of these things:
- Strengthen your relationship with your children
- Have a manageable work schedule
- Take parenting classes
- See a therapist
- Be cooperative and co-parent
- Be communicative
You can do endless things to show the court you’re a strong and supportive father ready and willing to take on this great responsibility. Big or small steps, courts will notice.
Pay Child Support Regularly
If you are responsible for child support payments, make payments consistently and on time every month. Ensuring your child support track record is strong is essential to get full custody.
Make Room for Your Child
If you’re driving a two-seater sports car and living in a bachelor pad, this can make things more difficult to get full custody of your child. Make appropriate accommodations for your children—this includes having a safe and spacious vehicle and a home that suits your child’s needs. Courts will assess what the child’s living situation would look like, so now is the time to make changes if necessary.
Treat the Other Parent Respectfully
No matter your feelings toward your child's mother, they are still the mother—always be courteous and respectful. Never bash them in front of your child.
If the court knows you’re being unkind toward the other parent, they may be reluctant to award you full custody. In many custody cases, even if one parent is awarded full custody, courts will still make efforts to encourage a relationship with the noncustodial parent. If you’re negative toward the other parent, a court may feel you’ll never promote a relationship with that parent, and avoid granting you full custody.
Choose Your Witnesses Carefully
You may have to produce witnesses to vouch for your abilities as a father. Be very selective with those you choose. Your ideal witness should have these characteristics:
- They know you well
- They have witnessed your interactions with your children on multiple occasions
- They are an upstanding, trustworthy individual
Having a dependable witness can benefit your case greatly.
Hire a Knowledgeable Family Law Attorney
You may represent yourself in court, but you will quickly find it is a daunting task. Hiring a family law attorney to handle your case can give you peace of mind, as you know your case is in the best hands. You are much more likely to achieve a favorable outcome with the help of a qualified lawyer.
The journey to full custody can be a long and winding road. Some cases take months, multiple courtroom visits, and a drawn-out battle. Keep your eye on the goal, and remind yourself why you’re doing this. Your kids are worth fighting for.
Be Prepared for What Full Custody Entails
When pursuing joint custody, it is crucial to take a step back and consider what this means.
Unfortunately, it is common for one parent to want to take full custody of the children to “punish” the other parent when the situation gets rough. But children are not pawns in a chess game, and their thoughts, feelings, and wellbeing should always be a top priority.
Having full custody means being a 24/7 parent all on your own. You will be responsible for your child’s physical, mental, and emotional health. It is a demanding job but a rewarding one.
If you seek full custody for all the right reasons, don’t back down from the challenge. Fathers are more than capable of achieving full custody of their children.
An Unbundled Lawyer Can Help
Many times, individuals facing legal trouble fail to get the help they need for fear of high legal costs. This is where an unbundled attorney can be beneficial to you and your case.
Normally, hiring a family law attorney involves a costly retainer fee and, subsequently, pay by the hour. That attorney would handle your case from start to finish.
Unbundled lawyers break this mold. An unbundled lawyer is a regular lawyer, whose services are tailored specifically to your needs. You are not expected to pay a retainer, and the attorney exclusively handles the most important part(s) of your case, leaving you to handle the rest.
When you hire an unbundled lawyer, you’re willing to do the bulk of the work. However, your attorney will help you during the key parts, helping to ensure you achieve a fair outcome. An unbundled lawyer’s services typically cost $500-$1,500—nowhere near what you could expect to pay a traditional lawyer.
No matter your needs, Unbundled Legal Help is ready to help get you on the right path. Whether your case is simple or more complex, we can find your perfect fit from our network of skilled and experienced attorneys. We can put you in contact today with a local lawyer to help you in your custody fight.
Child custody cases can be challenging, but an unbundled lawyer will be your best ally. Contact Unbundled Legal Help today to get in contact with a child custody lawyer in your area.