One you have file your petition to be granted sole child custody you will receive a date for either a mediation session or a court hearing. You’ll want to be prepared going into this meeting. Here are some steps to prepare.
Work with Your Family Law Attorney
Your family law attorney will help you prepare for the mediation or court hearing. If you have been working with a family law attorney up to this point, chances are you have already built your case for why the other parent is unfit to raise the child or children you share. If you have not been working with a family law attorney, you will need to gather evidence of this on your own. We’ll discuss this more in depth further below.
Serve the Other Parent
After the petition has been filed, you’ll need to let the other parent know that you have done so, and that you are requesting that a change be made to the current custody agreement. You can either work with your family law attorney to have the notification served, or work with a service company or the courthouse to have this done. Once the notification is served, the person who served the papers will need to provide you with proof that the other parent has been made aware. This is called “Proof of Service.” You’ll need to provide this to the court.
Family law courts prefer to award joint custody to both parents. Because of this, you will need to prove that the other parent is unfit and unable to handle custody of your child. This may be proven a number of ways. Here are a few examples:
- A history of abuse or neglect. Are there any police reports that have been filed against the other parent? Are there other pieces of evidence? Are there witnesses that can corroborate your story?
- Lifestyle. Does the other parent have a job? Is it a steady job that can ensure the other parent is able to financially take care of the child? Where does the other parent live? Is it a safe environment?
- Emotional and physical health. Is the other parent physically and mentally able to care for the child?
Once you have prepared all your evidence, either on your own, or with the help of a family law attorney, you will be ready for the mediation or court hearing. If during the mediation session you are unable to come to an agreement, then the case will need to go before a judge. Hopefully, either through mediation or the court hearing, you will then be granted with sole child custody.
Source: WikiHow, How to File for Full Custody, 2014
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