Making the decision to move forward with seeking sole custody is a big choice. Sole custody comes with a lot of responsibility. Here are some things you should keep in mind as you determine what type of custody is best for you and your child.
1. Prepare for the Work
You will be the sole provider of your child’s needs when you have sole custody. This is not only daily activities, like driving them to and from activities and appointments, but also providing their necessities like clothes and food. Be prepared to take on this time and responsibility commitment.
2. Make Sure You Can Afford It
In the United States, the average cost of raising a child is over $200,000. When you are granted sole custody, you are responsible for a hefty portion of this bill, if not all of it. In some cases where one parent has sole legal and physical custody, the noncustodial parent will not be required to pay child support. Even with child support payments, it is still expensive to be the sole provider for your child.
It’s best to start budgeting as soon as possible after you have decided to seek sole custody.
3. Document that You Are an Active Parent
When you go forward with seeking sole custody, the courts will want to see that you have been an engaged and stable parent. Collect photos, journal or blog entries, posts, or any evidence that shows your bond with your child. This will also show the effort you have already put into parenting.
4. Contact Character References
Character references or witnesses can speak to what a good parent you are. Find people who have seen firsthand how you interact with and care for your children. They can share their observations with the court.
5. Contact an Attorney
Getting sole custody is no easy feat. In most cases, the courts want to grant joint custody whenever possible.
Typically, sole custody is reserved for cases when a parent:
- Suffers from substance abuse
- Has a history of child neglect
- Is mentally incapable of caring for a child
- Is incarcerated
In general, there needs to be proof that the child’s other parent is unfit to have custody. A child custody attorney knows what it takes to prove this, and can help you craft the case you need to fight for sole custody.
Curtis Family Law
To learn more about your custody options and discuss your situation with a family law specialist, contact Curtis Family Law today. We offer free initial case consultations, so you can get started handling your family law matters as easily as possible