While most courts favor joint custody, if you feel the parent you share a child with is unfit you can file for sole child custody of your child. Here are the steps to do so.
Work with a Family Law Attorney
The first thing you should do if you are seeking sole child custody is to hire a family law lawyer that works with child custody cases. You’re going to need to prove the other parent is unfit to raise your child by demonstrating evidence of either a history of neglect or abuse, addiction to drugs or alcohol, or other reasons. A family law attorney can help you build your case while also explaining what can and can’t be used as evidence. You will also want a family law attorneys advice on your state’s specific laws regarding child custody.
File Correct Forms
You’ll want to either work with a court clerk or your family law attorney to determine which forms you’ll want to use when petitioning for sole child custody. The type of petition you file is dependent on your specific circumstances. Here are some examples of petitions to file:
- petition to update existing child custody orders
- petition to establish custody
- petition to establish paternity and install custody
Make sure your family law attorney reviews all forms prior to your submission. This will ensure everything is filed correctly and in the way that will ensure the outcome you want. Make a copy for yourself and for the other parent. The court will keep the original.
Get a Mediation or Hearing Date
Once your sole child custody petition is filed, you will get a date for either a mediation session or court date. Both you and the other parent need to be present at this date in order to meet a final agreement regarding the child’s custody.
Source: WikiHow, How to File for Full Custody, 2014
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