Full custody refers to a type of child custody arrangement wherein only one parent assumes all the responsibilities for caring for and raising the child. It is sometimes called by various names, such as sole custody or other names depending on the jurisdiction.
Full custody is often granted as a result of a divorce or legal separation trial, or in a separate proceeding devoted specifically for child custody matters. The parent who is granted full custody is often called the "custodial parent".
With full custody, only one parent is entrusted with responsibilities of both physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to those periods of time in which the child is staying or living with the parent. The parent would then be responsible for matters such as food, clothing, shelter, educational matters, and other expenses. Legal custody refers to the parent’s responsibilities of making various legal decisions on behalf of the child.
In some cases, "full custody" can also entail some visitation rights. For instance, the other parent (called the "non-custodial parent") may have some short periods of visitation with the child. Here, they may only be assuming physical custody for a short while, but the other parent still retains legal custody of the child. Full custody can be much more demanding than other forms of custody like shared or split custody, since the custodial parent is basically assuming all responsibility for the child.
Courts may require full custody in certain situations, such as:
Of course, each child custody situation is carefully analyzed so that the child’s best interests are served. This requires much deliberation and discussion between all the parties involved.
Child custody is a serious matter and generally requires the assistance and representation of a qualified family law attorney. You may wish to hire a lawyer in your area if you need any assistance at all with child custody issues or if you have any questions or concerns. Your attorney can provide you with the information and guidance that is needed to help you resolve the matters.
Last Modified: 05-07-2018 05:39 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.