As a father, you may feel hopeless and think you do not have the same rights as the mother of your child. A few years ago, the courts almost always ruled in favor of the mothers, but things have changed. If you are wondering what chances you have getting full custody as a father, the good news is they have improved dramatically. Here is what you need to know…
The Difference Between Full Custody and Joint Custody
In some states, full custody is called sole custody, which is when only one parent is completely responsible for their child. In joint custody, you and your ex would share legal and/or physical custody of your child.
Can a Single Father Get Full Custody of Their Child?
In most states, the courts do prefer that parents share the custody of their child. But in some cases, courts decide to give full custody to only one parent.
In addition, the courts in the United States are not allowed to show any type of prejudice toward the father of the child. So what are the chances of a father getting full custody? If you can show you can be the better parent, the odds may be your favor.
However, you should be extremely prepared for a tough battle in court if your child’s mother decides she wants full custody.
What Factors Do the Courts Consider in Child Custody Matters?
If you want full custody of your child, you need to know what is expected before you appear in court. This way, you can increase your chances of getting full custody. Most courts in the United States consider the following factors when they have to decide who will get full custody:
- Paternity: If you want full custody of your child, you should have proven paternity of that child. You can establish that you are the father of your child by signing the birth certificate, saying you are the father in court, or taking a DNA test.
- Your Relationship with the Child: Most judges will look at both a father’s and mother’s relationship with the child before giving them any custody rights. As a father, you should know you are going to have to answer questions that deal with the relationship you have with your child. The judge will also ask about any regular visitation you have had.
So what is the answer to this question: What are the chances of a father getting full custody? It is important that you establish and maintain a relationship with your child—no matter what your child’s age. Be involved. It will increase your odds.
You should also be aware that there are numerous other factors the court may consider, depending on your individual case and circumstances. You should also know that if you are granted full custody, the court may grant very liberal visitation rights to the child’s mother.
Courts believe that it is in the best interest of a child to have a good relationship with both you and the mother.
Tips to Help You Get Custody
- Pay Your Child Support: If you want custody of your child, you should always pay your child support payments on time. If you are having a hard time making your child support payments, request a modification from the court (instead of not making a payment at all).
- Keep Detailed Records: You should keep precise records of your visitations, your child support payments, any time you were denied visitation by the child’s mother, and any emails, voicemails, or texts from the mother that show you were denied visitation or that could paint the child’s mother in a bad light with the court.
- Get a Space Ready for Your Child: Set up a special place just for your child in your place of residence. Make your child’s bedroom a priority. The court will want to know if you have readied an adequate space for your child.
- Think About Mediation: Before going into court, you should always be open to mediation or arbitration. In a mediation, the case is decided by an unbiased third party.
Why You Are the Largest Factor in Determining Child Custody
What are your chances of getting full custody? For the most part, the answer depends on you. Many men remove themselves from the equation before their divorce even reaches the courtroom. For instance, they agree to give the mother full custody at settlement conferences.
Remember, the court will give you due regard if you can show clear and convincing evidence that you having custody is in the best interest of your child.
Why You Need a Good Strategy
In order to give you a chance to get custody of your child, a good strategy is paramount. And it all begins at the property settlement conference. If you wait until you go to court, it is already too late.
During your property settlement conference, you should state clearly that you want full custody of your child. And when the time comes to go to court, reaffirm that you want full custody.
Other Tips to Increase Your Chances of Getting Full Custody
So what are the chances of a father getting full custody? Even if you are going to be going through a rough divorce, the following tips may help you win full custody of your child…
- Be Involved: Be totally involved in your child’s life. Know who their teachers are, attend all school meetings, go to their doctor’s appointments, and attend their extracurricular activities. Then those around you will know how involved you are, and they could prove to be valuable witnesses in court.
- Document Everything: Make notes from the second you and your ex split up. Without proof, you cannot make the point that your ex is being unfair to you when it comes to your child. Keep all evidence at the ready.
Keep a calendar or log of when you see your children, what you do with your child, and how much financial assistance you are providing. If you and your ex have a parenting plan, keep records of how you have followed it.
- Do Not Be a Miser: If you earn more money than your ex, do not hide it from your attorney.Having a higher income puts you in a position of power, and it may tell the court you are in a good position to properly care for your child.
Prove to the court how you want to provide for your child’s healthcare, schooling, and any other needs. It may not be comfortable for you to discuss this matter, but it is in your child’s best interest to reside with you if you can afford a better quality of life for them.
- Put Together Excellent References: Prove to the court you are a good parent—not through your words, but through the words of other people. Having your friends and family members testify or write affidavits increases your odds of getting custody of your child.
Additionally, get references from your child’s teacher, coaches, friends, church group, etc.
- Be Determined from the Start: Be prepared for a fight. Get the most time with your child that you can from the beginning of the separation. Show that you understand your child’s needs and normal routines, and prove that you can take care of them in every way.
What are the chances of a father getting full custody? As you can plainly see, it is really in your hands. If you are prepared to do the work and be completely involved in your child’s life, it increases your odds of gaining full custody of your child.
Do not forget to keep detailed and accurate records of everything, which includes any angry or mean texts, emails, and voicemails (such as your ex denying you visitation with your child).
Make yourself available for your child, no matter what. Go to their school meetings, doctors appointments, extracurricular activities, etc. Do not make excuses; just do it. The days of the mother automatically gaining custody of their child are coming to an end. But keep in mind it is still going to be a battle. The more prepared you are, the more you increase your odds of winning child custody.