Obtaining Full Child Custody

By Henry F. Lewis on May 26, 2019

Parent and child holding handsChild custody arrangements determine where the child will live, as well as who has a say in making important life decisions for the child.

In most cases, it is the court’s preference to agree upon a joint custody arrangement, in which the child spends part of the time with each parent, and the parents make joint decisions about how the child’s care. However, there are some cases in which this may not be in the best interest of the child.

Here, the family law attorneys at Gardner & Lewis, LLP in Oakland, CA discuss how a parent can go about obtaining full child custody.

Understanding Physical vs. Legal Custody

Before a parent files for full custody, it is important to understand the types of child custody. There are two types of custody considered in a custody arrangement: physical custody and legal custody.

  • Physical custody: Physical custody refers to where the child lives. If one parent has full physical custody, the child will live with the parent full-time, rather than dividing their time between both parents’ houses.
  • Legal custody: Legal custody refers to who will make decisions about how the child is raised, such as where the child goes to school, what religion the child practices, and what type of medical care the child receives. If a parent has full legal custody, that parent can make decisions on his or her own, without input from the other parent.

Legal and physical custody can be settled separately so that it is possible for a parent to have full physical custody of the child while sharing joint legal custody.

Prior to filing for full custody, parents should consider if they want to seek full physical and legal custody, or if they are only asking that the child live with them full-time.

Filing with the Court

Parents will need to file with the court when seeking custody. It is extremely beneficial for parents to seek the assistance of a family law attorney, such as those at our Oakland practice, when dealing with child custody issues.

Legal expertise is especially helpful in cases in which the parent is trying to obtain full custody, since this is typically not the preference of the court. Our attorneys can build a case to show why full custody is in the best interest of the child.

Proving the Benefits of Full Custody

It is the court’s job to look out for the best interest of the child in custody cases. To have a full custody arrangement approved, the court will need to see that it is most beneficial to the child. Certain circumstances make it more likely that the court will grant full custody, such as:

  • One parent has been abusive or neglectful
  • One parent is unable to properly care for the child
  • One parent has served as the primary caregiver
  • The child is older and expresses a preference to live with one parent
  • One parent can provide a more stable home environment

Schedule a Consultation

The family law attorneys at Gardner & Lewis, LLP would be happy to answer any questions you may have about child custody arrangements. If you’d like to discuss your personal situation with one of our attorneys, call us in Oakland at (510) 451-4822 at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation.

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Oakland Office

1939 Harrison St
Ste 210
Oakland, CA 94612

More Info Directions (510) 451-4822