What Do I Need to Get Full Custody of My Child in California?
Going through a California divorce can be extremely difficult, especially when there are children involved. During this time, you want to shelter your children, make sure that they are comfortable with the transition happening in your family, and be confident that they will continue to thrive after the separation is finalized. However, in some situations, the best way to do that is to remove the other spouse from the picture on a full-time basis.
Attaining Full Child Custody: The Basics
To get full custody of your child in California, you need to demonstrate to the court that it is in the best interest of your child. The court considers factors such as:
- The child’s health, safety, and welfare
- Any history of abuse or neglect
- The stability of each parent’s home environment
- The ability of each parent to provide adequate care
- The child’s preference, if they are of age to decide
- The relationship between the child and each parent
The stability of the home environment can be further determined by looking at:
- Financial stability
- Physical and emotional safety of the home
- Parental ability to provide for the child’s needs (such as food, shelter, and medical care)
- Parental ability to provide emotional support and stability
- Parental willingness and ability to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent
The process of getting full custody of your child or children is legally intricate. It can be long and drawn out if papers are not filed properly or key evidence is missing. As a result, it is highly recommended that you seek the guidance of a family law attorney.
Why Parents Decide to File for Full Custody in California
People file for full custody in California for various reasons, including:
- Concerns about the child’s safety, health, or well-being in the current living situation
- A belief that the other parent is unfit or unable to provide adequate care
- A desire to take on sole responsibility for decision-making and upbringing
- A need to protect the child from negative influences or environments
- Conflict or dissatisfaction with the current custody arrangement
Everyone has different reasons for pursuing full custody of their children. Whatever yours are, it is important to be sure that this decision will be the best for your child. You should also be fully informed of what the process will entail.
The Step-by-Step Process of Filing for California Full Custody
The following list provides you with an overview of how to file for full custody. However, it is not exhaustive and can vary depending on your exact case. To file for custody in California, follow these steps:
- Complete and file the appropriate forms with the court:
- Petition for Custody and Support (FL-300)
- Summons (FL-110)
- Attachment to Summons (FL-115)
- Serve the other parent with the forms. The forms must be served on the other parent in accordance with the California Code of Civil Procedure.
- Attend a court hearing. After filing, you will need to attend a court hearing to present your case.
- Provide evidence to support your case. The court may consider various forms of evidence, including witness testimony, financial records, and documents related to the child’s well-being.
During this time, it will be important to make sure that you have the social support you need from family and friends. You will also need legal support to ensure that you are well-represented in the courtroom.
Q: How long does a California full child custody case take?
A: The length of a full child custody case in California can vary depending on a number of factors, including:
- The complexity of the case
- The court’s schedule
- The availability of witnesses and evidence
- Whether the parties reach a settlement agreement or proceed to trial
On average, a full child custody case in California can take several months to a year or more to resolve. It is important to note that each case is unique, and the exact timeline can vary.
Q: How much does a full child custody case cost?
A: If you hire an attorney, the cost can range from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. If you represent yourself, you will still need to pay court filing fees, which can add up. You are also less likely to get the outcome you want. In general, it is more cost-effective to reach a settlement agreement than proceed to trial, as trials can be expensive and time-consuming. It is important to note that the cost of a child custody case should not be the only factor considered. The well-being and future of your child are the most important factors.
Q: Is it hard to get full custody in California?
A: Whether it’s hard to get full custody in California depends on the individual circumstances of each case. Full custody may be easier to obtain if:
- There is a history of abuse or neglect.
- One parent is deemed unfit.
- There are serious concerns about the child’s safety and well-being.
However, if both parents are considered fit and there is no history of abuse or neglect, the court may prefer to grant joint custody or a shared parenting arrangement. In these cases, it may be more difficult to obtain full custody.
Q: At what age in California can a child decide which parent to live with?
A: In California, children under the age of 14 can represent themselves and their opinions in a family court. However, the judge will ultimately make the decisions regarding custody and visitation based on the child’s best interests. Under the law, the judge of a family court can call a child as a witness and ask them to present their wishes before the court.
Legal Experts With Child Custody Case Experience
It is important to have a clear and well-supported case with evidence of the child’s best interests when seeking full custody. To do this, you need to make sure that you have experienced and compassionate San Diego attorneys on your side. Schedule a consultation with a lawyer at Bickford Blado & Botros today. We can help you figure out a plan to get the family arrangement that is right for your child.
Feel Free to Contact Our Office with Any Questions