Full custody of a child refers to a legal arrangement where the court has granted one parent the sole responsibility for the care and upbringing of the child. Once appointed, the parent with full custody is responsible for making all major decisions regarding the child’s welfare, such as healthcare, education, and religious upbringing, without the other parent’s input or approval.
In contrast, joint custody is a legal arrangement where both parents are responsible for raising the child and making decisions about their welfare.
Full custody can be agreed upon by both parents or granted by the court in cases where one parent is deemed unfit to care for the child or when it is deemed in the child’s best interest to live primarily with one parent.
The parent with full custody is called the custodial parent, while the other is called the non-custodial parent.
In cases where full custody has been granted, the non-custodial parent may still have visitation rights, which may be supervised or unsupervised, depending on the circumstances. However, the custodial parent retains the final say in matters related to the child’s upbringing and well-being.
Full custody lawyers can help parents in several ways, including helping them understand their legal rights and responsibilities, negotiating custody and visitation agreements with the other parent, and representing them in court during cases where full custody is being sought or contested.
Custody lawyers can also help parents resolve disputes related to child support, relocation, and other issues that may spring up following a divorce or separation.
When seeking full custody, look for a lawyer who has experience in family law and custody cases. A custody lawyer can help you build a strong case for full custody by gathering evidence of the other parent’s shortcomings or presenting arguments showing why full custody is in the child’s best interest.
In summary, full custody of a child refers to a legal arrangement where one parent has been given sole responsibility for the care and upbringing of the child. The custodial parent has the final say in matters related to the child’s welfare, but the non-custodial parent may still have visitation rights. Full custody lawyers can assist parents in navigating the legal process of seeking or contesting full custody and provide valuable guidance and representation throughout the process.
What Responsibilities Are Involved in Full Custody?
Full custody of a child comes with some weighty responsibilities.
When a parent is granted full custody, they become the child’s sole caretaker and decision-maker and bear the brunt of the emotional and financial costs of raising a child.
Some of the major responsibilities involved in full custody are:
- Providing for the child’s basic needs: As the custodial parent, it is your responsibility to provide for your child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. You must make sure your child’s physical needs are met and that they are kept safe and healthy.
- Making major decisions: You will have the sole responsibility of making major decisions regarding your child’s upbringing, such as their education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. Consider your child’s best interests when making these decisions.
- Managing the child’s schedule: You will be responsible for managing your child’s schedule and making sure they attend school and other activities. Managing a child’s schedule can be challenging, especially if you are a single parent or have a demanding work schedule.
- Financial support: As the custodial parent, you will likely be responsible for financially supporting your child by paying for their basic needs and any additional expenses, such as extracurricular activities or medical expenses.
Compared to shared or split custody, where both parents have shared responsibility for the child’s upbringing, full custody burdens the custodial parent more. With shared or split custody, both parents are responsible for the child’s basic needs, decision-making, and schedule management. Additionally, both parents are typically responsible for providing financial support for the child under these arrangements.
Full custody also places more emotional and psychological demands on the custodial parent, who must provide a stable and nurturing environment for their child. This is no small task, especially if the parent is dealing with their own personal issues, such as a recent divorce or other family conflict.
When Is Full Custody Awarded?
Full custody of a child is typically awarded in cases where one parent is deemed unfit to care for the child or when it is deemed to be in the child’s best interest to live primarily with one parent.
In most cases, the court will consider these factors when determining whether to award full custody:
- The child’s age, needs, and preferences: The court will consider the child’s age, developmental needs, and preferences when determining custody. If the child is older and can express their preferences, the court will consider them.
- The mental and physical health of the parents: The court will assess both parents’ mental and physical health to determine their ability to care for the child. If one parent has a history of substance abuse, mental illness, or domestic violence, the court may deem them unfit to care for the child.
- The relationship between the child and each parent: The court will consider the quality of the relationship between the child and each parent and the level of involvement each parent has had in the child’s life. If one parent has been absent or uninvolved, the court may decide to award full custody to the other parent.
- The ability of each parent to provide for the child’s needs: The court will assess the financial and practical ability of each parent to provide for the child’s basic needs, such as food, shelter, and medical care.
- The stability of the home environment: The court will consider the stability of each parent’s home environment, including the presence of other siblings or cohabiting partners and the ability of each parent to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the child.
Ultimately, the court’s decision will be based on what is in the child’s best interests. The court prioritizes the child’s well-being and safety above all else when making a custody determination.
In some cases, the court may determine that joint or shared custody is in the child’s best interests, while in other cases, full custody may be deemed necessary.
It is important to note that custody arrangements are not set in stone and can be modified as the child’s needs and circumstances change. For example, if the non-custodial parent shows that they are now able to provide a safe and stable home environment, the court may modify the custody arrangement to allow for more visitation or even shared custody.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Child Custody Legal Issues?
If you are facing difficult child custody legal issues, seek the guidance and representation of an experienced child custody lawyer.
Child custody matters can be emotionally charged and complex. Having a child custody lawyer by your side can provide you with the legal expertise and support you need to navigate the legal system.
A child custody lawyer can help you understand your rights and responsibilities and the legal options available to you.
Use LegalMatch to get in touch with a child custody lawyer today.