Sole Custody: How To Get Sole Custody of Your Child?

Sole Custody: How To Get Sole Custody of Your Child?

Introduction

You may have never imagined that you would be facing the circumstances you are right now, preparing for divorce and planning to seek sole custody of your children. If you want the court to grant sole custody, it essentially means you have to convince the judge overseeing the case that you are the better parent and that it would be in your children’s best interests to live with you over you ex. 

Factors That Influence The Court’s Decisions

In all matters of child custody, visitation and support, the California Family Justice System cares most about what is best for children. The court decides this on a case-by-case basis. The following list includes issues that may sway the court’s favour in your direction or to the other side:

o A judge is not likely to look favorably on a parent that creates drama in the courtroom, especially concerning badmouthing the other parent. 

o If you constantly try to attack your former spouse in order to convince the court that your kids would be better off with you, your plan may backfire. 

o Your children’s lifestyle will be a main focus of discussion during custody proceedings. The court wants to make sure that you have your children’s physical well-being in mind and that you encourage routines that promote good diet, sleep, exercise and other healthy living regimens.

o The court is typically of the opinion that children fare best in divorce when provided ample opportunities to maintain active relationships with both parents, unless there is an extenuating issue that would make that a detriment to their safety or overall well-being.

o Showing that you are willing to compromise and cooperate as needed and that you openly encourage frequent communication and time spent between your kids and your ex lets the court know that you have their emotional and psychological well-being in mind.
Child Custody Rights For Mothers in California

Presumption

In California, there is no presumption that a mother is entitled to custody of her child. Both parents are equally entitled to custody of a minor child. The court’s primary concern is the “necessary or proper” arrangement for the child, not the gender of the parent. In fact, the state of California presumes that joint custody is most often in the best interests of the child. It is up to the parents to either work together to create a joint custody and visitation plan that works, or to file for a different custody arrangement.

Best Interest of the Child

Under California Family Code, Section 3011, judges evaluate several factors before making custody decisions in the best interests of the child. These factors include the child’s health, safety and welfare; any history of abuse; the nature and amount of contact the child has had with the parents; and drug use by either parent. In addition, the judge will take into consideration the opinions and preferences of children if she deems it in their best interest. The law generally provides this option for children 14 or older, but the court will hear from younger children in certain cases.

Child Support

Caring for a child is the responsibility of both parents regardless of the custody arrangement. California provides mothers with the right to financial support for their children. Factors determining the amount of support include the salaries of each parent and the amount of time the child spends with each parent. Mothers with primary or sole custody generally receive more monetary support than those with joint custody. For divorced parents, child support requirements are determined during the divorce proceedings and included in the final decree.

Unwed Mothers

Under California Family Code Section 7610, an unwed mother automatically gains custody of her child upon birth. No legal action is required to assert her custodial rights. She is solely responsible for providing for her child and making decisions regarding his living arrangements, health care and education. Barring any court order, the mother determines what, if any contact, the father has with the child. However, unless paternity is established, the mother has no right to child support from the father in this situation.
Paternity

As with married or divorced mothers, custody rights for an unwed mother include financial support from the child’s father. However, proof of paternity is required in order to initiate child support proceedings. When parents are married, paternity is automatically established when a child is born. An unwed mother needs to prove paternity in order to establish her rights to child support from the birth father; to access to his family medical records and health insurance; and to any of his government benefits. Fathers can voluntarily fill out a declaration of paternity at birth or after the mother initiates child support proceedings. If the paternity is contested, California law allows a mother to file papers in family court ordering the presumed father to take a paternity test.

Conclusion

In conclusion, most judges nowadays believe that shared custody is a best course of action for most children in divorce. However, if you believe that sole custody is in the best interest of your child, you will have to convince the judge to decide in your favour. If your ex-partner tries to make you look bad or attempts to undermine your parental rights, it is best to avoid confrontation and to try to stay calm focused on the issues you know are likely to influence the judge’s decision in your favour.

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