Can I get full custody of the kids if we live together? 23 Answers as of June 14, 2011

We are filing for divorce, but still intend on living together for several reasons. Can I get full custody of our 2 children (an 8 and 10 year old) under this arrangement? I don't think my husband should be allowed to make any parental decisions.

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William Reed
William Reed | William Reed
You may do so by entering into a settlement agreement.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/14/2011
Vermeulen Law office P.A.
Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Cynthia J.Vermeulen
Custody of children is one of the most emotional issues in a divorce. Depending on the laws of your state, you should be able to pursue sole custody under the circumstances that you are living together. However, the likelihood of obtaining sole custody can only be determined by an experienced family attorney who is representing you on this case. One thing is for certain: don't pursue this case without qualified legal representation.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 6/13/2011
Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law | Gregory T. Buckley
Custody (or time-sharing) is separate from the issue of parental responsibility. It is unlikely that you would be given "full custody" if you were still living under the same roof.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/13/2011
Law Office of James Lentz
Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
Full custody is possible for good cause. Usually it engenders a battle and does not happen easily. Most courts exhibit a strong preference for shared parenting. Please seek local counsel for further information.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 6/13/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
You appear to be addressing legal custody: the right to make decisions regarding the education, health and welfare of your children. You haven't addressed physical custody in your question. If your husband stipulates to a Judgment granting you sole legal custody, you can get sole legal custody. If he doesn't stipulate toyou getting sole legal custody, you will need to address your request, your reasons, and the facts in support of your reasons to the Court in an appropriate proceeding. You haven't provided me your reasons why you don't think your husband shouldn't be allowed to make parental decisions. You should consult, if not retain, an experienced Family Law Attorney to address the facts to you, and preferably to represent you in your divorce and child custody proceedings.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/13/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    While it might be possible for you to accomplish your primary goal, particularly if he agrees, I would urge you to retain an experienced divorce attorney to help you and to advise you as to all your rights and options. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Michael Rose Attorney at Law
    Michael Rose Attorney at Law | Michael Rose
    If you both live together, you both have custody . The same as you did before you get a divorce if you live together. You need to show the court that he can not make good parental decisions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Colorado doesn't use the term "full custody". In a divorce the court must approve a parenting plan that allocates parental responsibilities, decision-making, and parenting time in a way that serves the best interests of the children. It is unlikely that the court would do anything significantly different from normal just because you say you plan to continue to live together for some undetermined period of time, but it would be hard to devise a plan where parents live together but one is given dictatorial power.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    It is unlikely that a court will award you sole custody even if you and your spouse were not residing in the same home. The courts generally award joint legal custody at a minimum, particularly if your husband is around and is capable of making decisions. If there are no issues of domestic violence, mental illness or substance abuse, it is likely that the court will award you joint legal and physical custody.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    I have serious doubts about this. I say this because any judge in the state of Washington is going to be asking him or her self something like: "Why should I cut dad out of the children's lives when the parents are still living together? If the dad is that bad a guy, that he is a danger to the children, then, why are the parents still living together?" So, it seems unlikely that a court is going to cut dad out without some very good reason, particularly when the two of you are still living together.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    While anything is possible, I would say that it is not likely. If you are looking for an attorney and are in my area, please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    You are actually talking about two separate things: parental responsibility and time sharing/visitation. On parental responsibility, it is possible for you to have sole parental responsibility, but only if the circumstances justify it. Typically, he would have to be a drug addict, physically abusive, convicted felon etc. for you to get sole parental responsibility. It is also possible for you to get shared parental with ultimate decision making authority, but that is not typically ordered either, unless he has had no involvement at all with the children in the past. As for the time sharing / visitation, obviously if you are both living in the same house, whenever you have time sharing with the children, he would also have it . I would suggest speaking with an experienced divorce attorney in order to fully discuss your situation. My office offers free initial telephone consultations if you would like to discuss this matter in more detail, as well as explore the potential rights and options available. If you would like to coordinate a free initial telephone consultation, please contact my office.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Joint decision making is the norm unless there is domestic violence, great physical distance, the parties agree or there is other bases for restrictions on the Father's time with the children. Given that you're living together, it doesn't appear these factors apply but I obviously don't know your basis for thinking the Father shouldn't have joint decision making. Who will be primary caretaker will depend on who has the closer relationship, who has performed the most parenting functions and what's in the kids best interests. Consider using the collaborative process to resolve your differences.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    If he will be there and you communicate with each other it will be difficult unless there are reasons that it would not be in the children's best interests.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    Unfortunately, you don't provide enough information to answer your question but based on the information you do provide, I would have to say "no". If the two of you are living together, the courts won't really believe you if you say that he shouldn't be a joint decision maker.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/13/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    If the parents live together, it would be difficult to argue that the parents did not share physical custody. It is a unique arrangement and one that would have to be reviewed by experienced divorce counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Under Washington law the court will enter a parenting plan which details the residential schedule for the children with each parent. Under appropriate circumstances the court may award major decision making power to one parent. What kind of parenting plan the court will enter if the parents are still living together is hard to say.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    I would think you could, but generally, it is better for children to have two parents, and if you can still live together, then you are way ahead of many couples. I advise my divorce clients to exhaust all attempts to reconcile when there are children. Of course, reconciliation does not always happen, but I am of the opinion that with children comes the obligation to parent. If there are no kids, who cares what two consenting adults do? Under your scenario, I could also see risks of your circumstances quickly being considered a common law marriage which is recognized in Alabama. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    Yes. The court must award custody in a divorce case involving minor children. Even so, your husband will be allowed to make ordinary day to day decisions while the children are with him and you are gone. When the two of you live separate and apart, their father will have visitation rights also. Given that you will be residing together after the divorce, it is likely that the court will infer from that living arrangement that father is a capable parent who is entitled to recurring, regular parenting time (visitation). Please also note that the court cannot order joint legal custody of the children unless both parents agree.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Talk to your lawyer. Your proposal is very unlikely to fly with a judge. It will look ridiculous to argue that he should not be able to make decisions but you want him in the house. A judge likely will question your fitness as a parent or judgment in making such a proposal.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    In Washington State, custody is determined on what is in the best interests of the children.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/10/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    The answer is probably technically yes, but I would imagine the judge would have a lot of questions about your living arrangements, why you would be living together, and why you don't want the father involved in any decision-making for the kids. It is always up to a judge to approve of a custody agreement, and most judges in my experience don't think too far outside the box when it comes to custody.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/10/2011
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