When a couple undergoes a divorce, it is usually done after taking their child’s best interests at heart. For the child’s well-being, it is vital that both parents get to spend meaningful, quality time with their children – that way, their children can maintain a good relationship with both parents.

It is vital for any child’s growth and development that their connection is nurtured and preserved. For this very reason, shared custody is becoming increasingly common and millennial parents. But then again, in certain cases, it might be a child’s best interest to live under a parent’s full custody.

Welcome to the Parents Mag’s Empowering Single Moms edition – today, we will find out how to get full custody of a child as a mother.

But First, What Is Full Custody?   

Full or sole custody is a type of arrangement in which, after a divorce or legal separation, only one parent is responsible for raising, nurturing, and caring for their children. This basically indicates that the parent responsible will have complete legal custody, physical custody, or even both.

Full Legal Custody:   

Full Legal custody

Before we shed light on how to get full custody of a child as a mother, let’s find out what full legal custody entails.

Full legal custody refers to only one parent having complete decision-making power about things like their child’s health, welfare, and more. This is inclusive of questions like,

  • Which school does the child go to?
  • What are the extracurricular activities that the child takes part in?
  • Where does the child go for medical treatment, inclusive of dental care?
  • What kind of religious upbringing does the child have?
  • In case the child and parent move, where will they next reside in?

Full Physical Custody:  

Full Physical Custody

Full Physical Custody indicates that the child will have one parent’s home as their primary residence. This parent and the child will have to live on the same property full-time. Typically, it is common to include supervised or unsupervised visits with the other parent (the non-custodial one).

In case the non-custodial parent doesn’t provide a safe and nurturing environment, then the law can add supervision to the scene.

In very rare cafes where the kid might be in danger or where the second parent is imprisoned, the court might block out all kinds of parent visits for the said parent.

Any parent with complete physical custody will be responsible for,

  • Providing shelter, water, and food for their children.
  • Handling the education of their children and any related issues.
  • Covering any type of additional expenditure.
  • Child support is commonly ordered when one parent enjoys full physical custody. This is applicable even to noncustodial parents who do not get to visit their children.

So, How To Get Full Custody Of A Child As A Mother?  

So, how to get full custody of a child as a mother in California or in any other US state for that matter? Without wasting any time, let’s dig in!

Historically, the legal system of the United States takes a relatively more gender-oriented approach. This is true even more when you compare it to other countries in terms of family and divorce matters.

Since a child’s mother is their primary caregiver, in most situations, they get full custody. It is, therefore, easy for moms to get full custody of their child, as compared to dads. Of course, in ideal situations, Courts always prefer joint custody – since it’s always in the best interests of the child.

As a mother seeking complete custody of her kids, there are two things that you need to consider.

A Non-Custodial Parent Also Has Some Parental Rights:  

A Non-Custodial Parent Also Has Some Parental Rights

Firstly, you have to understand that the non-custodial parent also has certain parental rights. These rights include multiple decision-making rights about their children’s lives, inclusive of their healthcare, religion, and education.

The right to spend quality time with the kids is also an important right that most non-custodial parents enjoy. Due to this very reason, you have to understand how the non-custodial parent, that is, the father in this case, will enjoy these rights.

  1. Generally, fathers with children in a marriage are automatically given paternity rights. Of course, there could be exceptions in special cases.
  1. For kids born out of wedlock, the mother gets to enjoy full custody of her children if she is not in a romantic relationship with the dad.
  1. In certain states, the father’s complete name on the child’s birth certificate does not grant him paternity rights automatically. Additionally, under specific state laws, mothers are not obligated to even offer parental visits with the kid to the father without any established paternity right.
  1. To establish paternity outside of the marriage, both the father and the mother need to sign their acknowledgment on a paternity form voluntarily.

All Single Mothers Don’t Get To Enjoy Full Custody Automatically:   

All Single Mothers Don’t Get To Enjoy Full Custody Automatically

Secondly, if you are an unmarried single mom or in the middle of a complicated divorce, but the father has managed to establish paternity, you have to put in plenty of work to win full custody over the child.

At the same time, it is also possible that you will have to face a really long trial to obtain full custody.

Things To Consider While Pursuing Full Custody:   

Now that you know how to get full custody of a child as a mother, there’s one more thing that you need to consider. What are the primary things that you have to consider while pursuing full custody? Scroll down to find out more!

1. Understand What Full Custody ACTUALLY Means:  

Understand What Full Custody ACTUALLY Means

Before you get involved in any potentially expensive and intense custody battle, make your priorities clear – what will winning complete custody entail for you? You will be responsible for every single aspect of your kid’s life.

2. Don’t Assume That Money Will Make Things Easier:  

Don’t Assume That Money Will Make Things Easier

More financial stability or even assets do not necessarily indicate that you are relatively better for sole custody. The court will divide all marital assets and find out the best living environment for their children instead of punishing one parent for certain socioeconomic differences.

For sole custody, you will have to provide evidence that you are the better parent. You are more involved with your child, regardless of your assets and overall financial background.

3. Don’t Alienate Your Child From The Co-Parent:  

Don’t Alienate Your Child From The Co-Parent

Co-parenting is becoming increasingly common. Speaking ill of your co-parent negatively impacts not just your case but also weakens your connections with your child. Even if you have full custody over your child, the Courts will not rule out the parental rights of the other parent randomly.

The law will prefer it if both parents get to play a vital role in the lives of their children. Obviously, this is true except in dangerous circumstances.

And That’s A Wrap!  

Now that you are aware of how to get full custody of a child as a mother, what are your immediate thoughts? If you have grown up with a single mother, you would probably know the effort it takes to win full custody. But if you are new to single motherhood, then chances are you will get confused. This is also why you need to get in touch with a professional ASAP!

Feel free to share your thoughts, stories, and experiences related to single motherhood in the comments below.

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