Should you push for full custody of your children after a split? 4 key factors to consider
No one gets into marriage hoping to split up with the person they love at some point. Unfortunately, splits happen quite often, with statistics showing that approximately half of all marriages end in divorce.
When a relationship where children are involved ends, the most significant concern for parents is custody of the children, in most cases, the court will consider the child's best interests when granting custody.
But if you have evidence that your soon-to-be ex-partner is not fit to have custody, you can push for full custody. This guide focuses on full custody, from what factors to consider before seeking one, and everything else you need to know.
But What Is Full Custody?
Custody after a split can take several routes, but the most common types of child custody are joint split and full custody. Under joint custody, both parents have a say in their child's upbringing. Split custody, however, applies in families with multiple children, where some live with one parent and others with the other.
Full custody grants one parent responsibility over almost every aspect of the child's upbringing, such as where they go to school, religious upbringing, healthcare, and other important aspects of their life.
The other parent may be allowed or scheduled visitation rights in most cases. Also, they will be responsible for paying child support to the custodial parent.
How Likely Is It That You'll Be Granted Full Custody?
Splits are often accompanied by lots of feuding between partners. But you must understand that just because you want to get back at your partner doesn't mean pushing for full custody is right, or the court will grant it to you.
But there are legitimate reasons for pursuing it. Here are some factors to consider when determining your chances of getting full custody and whether it is a good idea to push for it.
1. The Child's Best Interest
If you have children from your relationship, keeping your emotions under check for their sake is best. A split may affect you emotionally. But it also has a huge impact on the children. So it's best to act the adult and consider their best interests because you do not want to make it any harder than it already is for them.
Also, the court will prioritize the child's best interests by considering factors such as age and your ability to offer a naturing, safe, and loving environment. In this regard, your record will matter a lot.
For example, if you have a record of drug use, child abuse, neglect, or abandonment, getting full custody can be challenging and may not be worth pushing for.
2. Parent-Child Relationship
The court emphasizes the child-parent relationship when making child custody rulings. To determine the parent's relationship with their child, the court can ask the child if they are old enough to understand.
They may also look at photos and video footage depicting their relationship. So if you have any evidence to showcase yourself as having the most solid relationship with the child, you can better your chance of winning sole custody if it is the only option.
What you do during your divorce proceedings can send a message to the person you are and can make or break your case. So be careful to put the child's best interests before yours when navigating the divorce process to make a good impression.
3. Stability and Continuity
Stability and continuity are critical for a child's development. So the court will assess the stability of both parents, with the preference being on the parent who offers the most stability.
This means you can have everything going for you. However, having an unstable lifestyle caused by your career can be a deal breaker, not because you are the bad parent but because you don't offer stability and continuity.
For example, when you serve in the US Army, where you are deployed to different countries at any given point, you may not be able to give your child the stability they deserve. If it is the other spouse that is in a career that doesn't offer much stability, then pushing to get full custody is a good idea.
4. The Quality of Your Legal Counsel
Divorce proceedings can be complicated when the divorcing parties cannot agree. If the other party has a more experienced lawyer than yours, their chances of winning the custody battle are high.
So, ensure that the quality of your lawyer is not questionable. Check out their website reviews to determine a lawyer's experience and expertise. But website reviews are not enough since they can be doctored to reflect what they want to show.
So, you may want to check reviews from independent legal review sites such as Avvo, Martindale-Hubbell, Super Lawyers, Lawyers.com, and Justia. You can also ask people that have worked with them about their experience.
Whether or not to pursue sole custody is a decision that needs careful consideration, as highlighted in this guide.
But the children's best interests should come first, and having to fight for custody should only come when better options are out of the question.