How to Become the Custodial Parent of Your Child

How to Become the Custodial Parent of Your Child

If you’re going through the process of divorce, child custody is a topic that’s sure to come up in proceedings.

Sometimes shared custody is not what’s best for a child. This is where the concept of a custodial parent comes in.

Custodial parenting involves having custody of a child the majority of the time. Knowing how to become the primary guardian requires research and knowledge about state laws.

With that in mind, here’s your guide to becoming the custodial parent of your child.

What’s a Custodial Parent?

Custodial parents legally differ from parents who share custody over a child.

As mentioned, a custodial parent has full physical custody. They carry most of the parenting responsibility. The involvement of a non-custodial parent varies and will depend on the relationship between the parents.

A parent may have sole custody of a child a majority of the time. But this doesn’t automatically mean they are the custodial parent in the eyes of South Carolina law.

So what is the process for filing for custody?

Legal Strategy

When it comes to becoming a custodial mother or father, a good legal strategy is a must.

Some parents may choose to forgo a lawyer and file for full guardianship on their own. This is called filing “pro se” and requires you to represent yourself in court.

But, most parents find hiring a child custody attorney to be the easiest and best strategy. A lawyer can help you understand your individual needs and give you legal advice. They will also represent you and your best interests in court.

Either way, demonstrating quintessential factors in court will help you gain sole custody.

Develop a Visitation Plan

Developing a visitation plan is important for filing for custody. Since you’ll have full care, you’ll need to determine how often the non-custodial parent will visit. Having a full, detailed plan ready will ease the legal process.

You may decide you don’t want your ex-spouse to have any visitation rights. They may be dangerous or unequipped to handle visitation. In this case, you’ll need to provide evidence that they’re not qualified to care for your child.

Demonstrate Your Child’s Needs

Showing why your child is best in your care is a major priority when it comes to achieving custodial rights. One way to do this is to show their physical needs and how you meet them.

You’ll have a legal advantage if you can prove gaining custody will not significantly disrupt your child’s life. You can prove this by detailing their education, daily schedule, and regular activities. Ideally, their life will align with your own capabilities.

Prove Your Priorities

Proving your child is your number one priority is a great way to gain custodial rights. This may mean showing the sacrifices you’ve made for your child and the ways you have provided for them. Likewise, you may need to show how your ex-spouse hasn’t prioritized parenting.

Showing a strong bond and relationship with your child will work to your advantage. Working with your lawyer to demonstrate is one way to ensure this.

Learn More

These tips will help you jumpstart the process of becoming a legal custodial parent. Hiring an attorney can help ease the stresses of the custody process. To schedule a consultation, contact us today.

To learn more about family law, read more of our blog, or contact us below.