Lifestyle

The Complete Guide on How to Get Custody of a Child

In 2019 there were nearly 750,000 divorces in the United States.

Divorce can be a messy process when children get involved, and custody is at stake. 

If you have lost partial or full custody of your child, there are several steps you will need to take.

Continue reading to discover how to get custody of a child so that you can get them back in your care! 

Do Your Research

The first step in learning how to get custody of a child is to do your research and know where you stand.

Is this a new case where no one has custody yet? Or is this a modification to a petition on an existing order? Understanding where you are will help you navigate through the process. 

Another piece of information that you should be pulling up is about your child’s best interest. Look for any documentation and proof that you can find to help prove that the child will be best taken care of under your watch. Identify reasons that may have previously kept you from your child. Learning how to be prepared is most important at this stage. 

Gather Your Proof

Once you have gathered documentation about the history of the case, you can begin gathering proof.

This proof should support your argument as to why your child is best with you. The judge will review all of the information from both sides to determine what’s in the child’s best interest. Skipping this step could harm your chances of getting custody; make sure that you prepare.

If your child was previously living with you and had good school grades during that period, this can be used as evidence. You should also gather documents about your child’s medical history and health to show that they will be properly cared for. 

Find Witnesses

During custody battles, you must find witnesses who can help support your case. 

Medical professionals, friends, and family are all great examples of someone who can be a witness. Look for people who have been around for your child’s life and have seen the progress over the years. 

A reliable witness who has experience with your child will be credible to the judge. Discuss with your witness the things that could be brought up during court to help them prepare for the case. Witnesses are essentially a piece of your proof. 

File a Petition

Nothing can be done with the custody of your child until you make a formal petition.

Custody and visitation modification petitions get filed with the court. You will need to fill these forms out and submit them promptly to the courthouse. Once the petition gets filed, the judge will determine how to proceed.

Many people file petitions when circumstances change that put them in place to take full custody. Make sure you know which situation you are currently in with custody to get the right paperwork. 

There will be a place for you to explain why custody should be granted to you in the petition. There is also a place to identify areas of concern with their current custody agreement. 

Know What the Other Side Is Saying 

After filing your petition, the other opposition party has the chance to respond in a formal document. 

During simple cases, the opposing party may look over the petition and decide not to fight it. They may realize that it is in the child’s best interest and be willing to negotiate terms. 

Knowing how the other party will respond will help you prepare for court. The opposing party may decide to fight the case and still aim to keep full custody. If they are going this route, their explanation should be clearly expressed in their formal response. 

Work With Your Legal Team 

Between filing your petition and going to court, you should be maintaining contact with your legal team.

There are likely things to address and respond to after filing the petition to help you win your case. Don’t forget to meet with your child’s school and doctor. Meeting with these people can help supply you with more updated and accurate information about your child.  

You should also anticipate legal questions to come up that are necessary for your case. Your legal team will guide you through this process until your court date comes. 

Attend the Hearing

All of your preparation has led you up to the point of the child custody hearing. 

Ensure that you write the hearing date and location down so that you don’t miss the hearing. Unfortunately, many people miss the hearing due to a lack of organization and losing their cases.

At your hearing, you will have the opportunity to explain your case and tell the judge why your child is best under your care. Utilize all of the proof that you gathered and make sure that your witnesses show up. 

You will also hear the opposing party’s case and have the chance to respond to it. Once all of the information has been laid out, the judge will make a final decision. 

Learning How to Get Custody of a Child 

If you have lost partial or full custody, it is important to learn how to get custody of a child.

You should always be thinking about what is in your child’s best interest and who they are best cared for. Gather as much information as you can to help prove your case; witnesses can also help.

After you have filed your petition, there will be things to follow up on. Don’t forget to utilize the time between your petition and court date to better prepare for the custody battle. 

Be sure to check out our blog for more articles about getting custody and how to parent your children!

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