How can I get full or physical custody of my son? 26 Answers as of July 11, 2013

I want to get full or physical custody of my son. His father has not been in his life, and cannot support him. How do I get custody?

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Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
If you are not married, start a paternity action.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/5/2011
Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law | Gregory T. Buckley
You can get full custody by showing the Court that it is in your child's best interests that he live primarily (or solely) with you. His father still has rights despite the fact that he has not been involved in his life. Also, child support and visitation are seen as two separate issues.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/27/2011
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
You have to file an application for custody in court. There will be court dates and decisions will be made at those times as to custody, visitation and support.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 7/20/2011
Osterman Law LLC
Osterman Law LLC | Mark D. Osterman
It sounds like you already have custody now. And that is the image you want to project if this becomes a dispute. Try to get it not to be a dispute is the big hurdle and if you clear it, it saves a lot of pain. The law focuses on the "best interest of the child" and thus that is the direction we need to point our lens for a close-up. These are statutory rules the court must follow. You can look them up, but if you follow below, unless you are making meth in the bath-tub or on Spenard Road in a red dress, you should be quite successful. Make a list of things thata judge wants to see a child experience and the things to avoid. Judges want childrenfed and on a routine. Judges want children parentedparenting is a skill set, not a noun. Judges want childrento learn and play well with other kids. This is called learning disciplines. Kids by themselves are holy terrors and they need to learn and control their emotions. Parenting skills is simply a matter of using your head and coming up with plans. An old saying in my huse is "If you want to kno what it is like tolive underdictator, have children." Many will scoff at my list, but over the years, this list has been effective every time it is used. 1. Get your child to church on Sunday or whatever worship day you observe. Why? Children learn right from wrong, good from bad and that is not a bad thing in a world that cannot decide what is good or bad. If you think these are taught anywhere else, then good luck! But you will also find that these are a factor the judge considers when awarding custody. Children learn to get long, learn to respect and love their fellow man. Ther is novideo game fr itjust the opposite. School andvideo games teach them to be savages. 2. Get into a habit and a routine. Supper is at home every night with you, is an example. Children thrive in an environment where everything is the same. Look around you. Name a succcessful person that was at home alone without parental supervision while Mom and Dad ran the roads. Those who claim they only want their kids to be like everyone else and everyone else's kids are delinquents can leave now. 3. Be consistant in how you deal with the kids. Children need a stable environment and that is not just a house or apartment. This means there is time for homework, time for chores and time to play with friendsbut more time home than not. Stability is, in my opinion, a well grounded routine and fair treatment. Come up with a discipline plan: I spank when my child's conduct will cause serious injury to him/her or someone else. I stand them in the corner for the length of time of their age, I time out for this and they lose priveledges for this misconduct. Make the policy and stick to it and be able to say it so no one can accuse you of being anything but a loving parent concerned with misconduct.Judges like to hear that you have thought through how your kids will be treatedthe judge looks out for the child. The focus is on the child. Show that you can parent and the court's interest will be in you. Finally, be the care giver. You make the meals (not a McDONALDS plan) and you do the laundry and run the vaccuum and get the kids to the doctor. You know what they like and don't like. So to answer your question: Love your children. Help them be good citizens, well equipped to handle school and give them a stable home. Do these things and I doubt any judge will award him custody. This is a good start. More info and I would have to charge you money. Good Luck
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 7/20/2011
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
There is not enough information to give you a full answer.Are you married to the father? If not, it makes it much easier to get full custody. Joint Custody is not usually given unless the parties are married and they can get along aboutthe raising of the child/children. Otherwise, you should make a petition in Family Court for custody and follow through on it. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/18/2011
    Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law
    Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law | Neville J. Bedford
    Find a good attorney and take him to court
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    It sounds like you already have custody of him. Is the child living with you? You may be seeking something different.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    You would need to hire a Florida divorce and child custody attorney to file papers with the court.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    In California there is two types of custody. Legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody means the parent who will decide all issues related to the health, education and welfare of the children. This includes where the child will go to school, what religion the child will be raised, who will be the chilld's doctor, etc. Physical custody is what percentage of the time each parent will spend with the child. The fact that the father doesn't pay child support will not decide how much time he spends with the child. Paying child support is not a requirement of seeing your child. However, the court will determine what is in the best interest of the child. If the father does not visit the child at the time and has not done so for some time that will be a major factor in the courts decision. You should meet with an expert family law lawyer now to help you file the proper papers with the court to establish your custody rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    You must file a court proceeding to determine custody of your child. The court will weigh and balance many factors to determine the "best interest" of the child, but if the father has not been in the child's life a formal order of custody to you should not be difficult to obtain.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    If your son was born during a marriage the custody must be determined by a divorce court. If you son was born outside of a marriage, then you would obtain a custody order in the Juvenile Court.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Pontrello Law
    Pontrello Law | William Pontrello
    no "custody" in Florida, its shared responsibility. unless he has maimed the child he has equal rights. you can get him to consent to full parental responsibility
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    You want to go to Court and ask to get full custody.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Bagwell Holt Smith Jones & Crowson, P.A.
    Bagwell Holt Smith Jones & Crowson, P.A. | John G. Miskey IV
    I can help you accomplish this by agreement or by filing an action with the Court if necessary.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    This answer is too involved to get into on the internet. You need to schedule an appointment with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    You should consult with an experienced family law attorney. Florida technically no longer has "custody". It is a shared parenting state and what shared parenting arrangement is ordered depends on what arrangement is in the best interest of the child. If they Father has had little involvement, then he would probably have very little timesharing or visitation. But much more would need to be known in order to project what timesharing arrangement the judge might order if the parties cannot agree on one. Child support would also need to be determined according to the Florida Child Support Guidelines.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    You did not indicate whether you want to modify existing orders or whether you want to establish orders for the first time; the background of your situation is relevant in determining your next steps, and your question is too complicated to answer here, but I recommend you contact an attorney to discuss your situation and determine your best course of action.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    I'm not certain what you are looking for...or that you don't already have it. A parent can be the sole custodial parent or a part of a shared parenting plan approved by the court. One parent may be the residential parent which determines where the child will attend school. You do not mention whether you are married to the child's father. If you were never married to the child's father, by statute you are the custodial and residential parent. For further information, please contact a local domestic relations attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    The simple answer is that you must file a suitable petition in the District Court where you live in order to obtain a court order that confirms you have sole and exclusive decision-making authority for your child. You do not provide enough information to indicate what kind of judicial proceedings would be necessary or appropriate. And you don't give any reason why you need anything "legal" at this time, so it is not possible to suggest a possible course of action. If you are the birth mother and have actual, complete physical custody and control, it may not be necessary for you to do anything right now. You should consult an experienced attorney to get a better assessment based on all the facts.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    If you already have a petition for divorce or paternity filed, you should also file a motion for custody and support
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Under Georgia law, if you are not married to the father and he has not legitimated them through a court proceeding, you automatically have custody and the father has no rights. If you are married to the father, you need to get a custody order through a divorce proceeding. If you are not married but there is a custody order in place through a legitimation proceeding, then you need to file a custody modification action.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    It is not clear what the parenting status is now. If someone else currently has an order giving them custody, then you may need to file a modification action. If you are married and wondering how to have your child live with you after separation, then you would need to file a divorce action and bring a motion for a temporary parenting plan. If you are unmarried and have never had a legal action concerning the child, then you would need to file a parentage action to establish a parenting plan.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    Your email raises several questions in my mind. These are: Were you married to your son's father? If you were not married to him, has paternity been established? Has some sort of parenting plan or custody order previously been entered? The answers to these questions will affect the options that are available to you. For example, if you were never married to the father, and if paternity has never been established in some fashion, then, the father may not have any rights to your son at all. If paternity has been established, but no parenting plan or custody order has ever been entered, then, a parenting plan action needs to be filed. That will require at least the filing and service of a summons, petition, confidential information form, financial declaration, proposed parenting plan, and sealed file financial documents. In this action, there will eventually be either a trial or a settlement that will get you a parenting plan or custody order. If a parenting plan or custody order has already been entered, and you are trying to change it, then, you have a much bigger problem. This is because the legislature deliberately made it hard to change these documents.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    The answer to your question is not simple. There are many different ways to present a case regarding custody. Ultimately, a court makes custody decisions based on what it believes is in the child's best interests. How that is accomplished depends on the facts of the case and the evidence available.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    You file a motion to modify custody and visitation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    It sounds like you've left something out that prevents us from answering. If he doesn't have custody, who does?
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/14/2011
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