When Should You Petition for Full Child Custody?
Child custody is one of the most sensitive matters in a parental divorce or breakup. It can be difficult to know what’s in the best interests of the child when both sides are emotionally invested. In most cases, a child should continue to have regular contact with both of their parents for healthy development. However, contact with toxic or abusive parents may not be in the child’s best interests. Here are some scenarios where your child may be better supported if their other parent doesn’t have custody and/or visitation.
Your Ex Is Unable to Adequately Care for the Child
In some cases, one parent may be unable to meet the basic needs of the child while in their care. The child may suffer inadvertently from neglect, which can cause significant harm to the emotional and mental development of your child. Even if it’s for a reason that is beyond your ex’s control, the welfare of your child is most important. The most common reasons a parent is unable to properly care for a child are substance abuse and mental illness.
Drug and/or Alcohol Dependency
When one parent abuses drugs or alcohol, it can be nerve-wracking to send your child into that environment for visitation. It’s difficult to be sure that your ex is not using drugs around your child and is able to maintain their cognitive faculties well enough to provide your child with adequate care. If your child comes home from their other parent’s and suggests that your ex was asleep most of the time, did not make them food, or seemed “out of it,” this could be an indication that your ex is spending visitation with your child influenced by a dangerous substance.
Some mental illnesses render a person unable to properly care for a child. Many mentally ill individuals are great parents, however, and each case is different. If you believe your ex is suffering from a mental illness that they do not think they have or they are refusing treatment for, this may be a good reason to seek sole physical and legal custody of your child.
You Believe Your Ex May Be Harming the Child
Child abuse is a serious allegation and it’s important that you bring as much evidence as you have to the table. Your ex could be legally impacted for the rest of their life if convicted, so this is typically a last resort that should be used only when a child is in real danger. Some parents will attempt to use false allegations of abuse to take out a protective order and gain more control over the breakup or divorce, however, this is also harmful to the child.
Abuse in the home can take many forms, including:
- Physical abuse. The other parent strikes, hits, or smacks the child.
- Sexual abuse. The other parent inappropriately touches the child or allows others to inappropriately touch the child.
- Emotional abuse. The other parent emotionally manipulates the child, guilt trips them, or gaslights them.
- Verbal abuse. The other parent belittles the child, calls them names, and yells or screams at them.
- Neglect. The other parent fails to provide them with physical and emotional care.
Your Ex Becomes Incarcerated
If your ex becomes incarcerated and is unable to share physical or legal custody of your child with you, it may be a smart move to go ahead and file for full custody. This allows you to make important decisions without needing to consult your ex in jail and provides additional protections if your ex is a danger to you and your family if released.
Get Legal Assistance Filing for Full Custody on Long Island by Calling Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. Today
Are you considering the idea that it may be in the best interests of your child to file for full custody? Don’t hesitate to get legal help. The standard in New York is that a child benefits most from having a relationship with both parents, but this is not the case in all circumstances. Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. can help you gather the evidence needed to show the court that maintaining a relationship with your ex would not be in your child’s best interests. Contact us today for more information or to schedule your initial consultation by calling 631-923-1910.
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