How to Win Full Custody of Your Child

Little girl strolling in park with mom joyfully
Images By Tang Ming Tung / Getty Images

Parents seeking to win full custody of a child during a custody battle should be prepared for what may prove to be a challenging fight. Full custody differs from joint custody in that a full custody arrangement grants legal and physical custody to one parent as opposed to both parents.

Before you decide to pursue full custody, however, you should understand your motives. Do you want full custody to punish your ex, or do you really think that your former mate is unfit to share custody of your child?

Family courts across the nation generally agree that joint custody is the best arrangement for the child. This arrangement enables the child to see both parents on a regular basis. Unless your ex poses a serious danger to your child and has a history that indicates a pattern of unsafe behavior, you should question your goal to win full custody.

While your ex may have done you wrong, winning full custody to avoid interacting with your former mate again isn't a reason for full custody.

Getting Full Custody

Full custody is also referred to as sole custody. In a full custody arrangement, one parent is the custodial parent, while the other parent is generally granted generous visitation rights as determined by the court. A court will generally agree to grant the non-custodial parent visitation rights unless visitation does not serve the best interests of the child.

Factors Considered in Winning Full Custody

Parents who want to win full custody should consider the following factors that may be determinative in a court of law:

  • Courtroom demeanor - A judge may determine a parent's fitness for full custody, in part, on the basis of the parent's demeanor in court. For example, if a parent wants to win full custody, he/she should avoid interruptions and attempt to maintain his/her composure and avoid angry outbursts.
  • Courtroom dress - During a custody battle, a court may consider the parent's style of dress as a factor in determining whether the parent will win full custody. Parents should wear dark suits and avoid casual clothing.
  • Best interests of the child - This is probably the most important factor that a court will consider. A family court usually determines that it's best for parents to share custody of a child. A parent looking to win full custody should be prepared to state clear reasons why joint custody would not serve the child's best interests. An example of a reason you might be granted sole custody is if your ex has issues with substance abuse or a history of leaving the child home alone. 
  • Preparation - A judge will consider the level of preparation of a parent looking to win full custody. Preparation includes factors such as whether the parent has an attorney or whether he/she parent has concrete documentation to support his/her position for full custody.

    Wrapping Up

    It may not be fair for a court to decide full custody based on the criteria above. But since there's little you can do to change these guidelines, you should follow them accordingly to get your best shot at winning sole custody of your child. For more information about how to win full custody, speak with a qualified attorney in your state.

    Was this page helpful?