Obtaining custody of your child starts before you file a motion with your local court. Typically, a child custody judge doesn't automatically grant custody to the mother just because you are the mother. Instead, the judge considers what's in the best interest of a child when determining child custody cases. Thus, just telling the judge presiding over your case that you're the better because you're the mother isn't enough. To prove to the judge presiding over your case that you are the better parent, you must have evidence.
Understand the different types of child custody. Physical custody involves a child living with you. Legal custody consists of having the right to make decisions about your child's upbringing such as school enrollment and medical procedures. Sole custody entails one parent having custody over a child. Joint custody involves sharing custody of a child.
Keep detailed records. Your records typically include your child daily's activities and the type of outings you attend such as musicals and parent-teacher meetings.
File a complaint with local family county court. Filing a complaint, also called a pleading, starts the process of obtaining child custody. In the complaint, you specify the type of child custody you want.
You can request different types of custody arrangements. For example, you can request sole physical child custody, but share legal custody.
- After you file your complaint for child custody, the other parent may file a counterclaim. In a counterclaim, he may also request custody.
- A judge doesn't rely on only your evidence to grant custody. During a child custody hearing, a judge hears testimony from you and the other parent . In addition, a judge may listen to witnesses such as experts and people who have knowledge of how you take care of your child. The judge may also interview your child or appoint a guardian to represent her interest.
- If you're seeking joint custody, you can have either joint legal or joint physical. Joint physical custody involves your child spending equal time living with each parent. For example, your child may live with you during the school year, but spend time with the other parent during the summers. Joint legal custody consists of you and the other parent making decisions involving your child's living arrangements, religious affiliation and health.
- When keeping records, you should also keep track of the other parent's interaction with your child. For instance, you should write down when his work schedule restricts visitation with your child or any domestic violence issues.
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