If you have a child and are thinking about a divorce, one of the biggest issues will be custody of your child. If you want full custody, but your partner decides that he or she wants joint or full custody, you may be in for a legal battle. The following are a few things you should know.
Awarding sole custody to a mother is not always in the best interest of the child
You will hear the phrase "the best interest of the child" thrown around a lot by attorneys, but the first and most important thing you need to understand is that this is defined by the courts, especially the judge. However, in general, family court judges believe that it is in the best interest of the child to have both a mother and a father. This means joint custody, not sole custody. Although you may believe that having sole custody of your child is in his or her best interest, you will need to demonstrate this to a judge. This is where having an attorney with experience in winning sole custody will be an advantage.
You need to document and explain how you will care for your child
You will need to document your reason for full custody. This will mean your plan for your child's care. This includes their education. Where they will go to school, including how they will get there and get home. If needed, explaining how they will be taken care of after school. You will need to document your income because even if your ex-spouse pays child support, he or she will not be responsible for all of your child's expenses.
You will need to document why your spouse should not have custody
Telling stories to a judge is not evidence. You will need to show evidence that your spouse cannot provide a safe environment for your child. Documentation of alcohol or drug use can be strong evidence of this, as well as any history of physical abuse. If your spouse has shown any form of neglect, this will carry weight in family court. But even something such as a lack of preparedness for custody can suffice for a judge. You should discuss the possibilities with a child custody lawyer concerning your spouse's history with both you and your child.
Even as a mother, you are not automatically given full custody of your child. Your soon-to-be ex-spouse is likely to get joint custody if he or she wants it. It is up to you to demonstrate that he or she is not fit to have custody and that you will provide a good home. Above all, you need to discuss your situation with a child custody lawyer, so you will be well prepared when you go to court.