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When Should You Petition for Full Child Custody?

by | Sep 15, 2020 | child custody and support, News and Events

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.

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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.

Mental Illness

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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Anastasia R
Anastasia R
22:45 17 Dec 20
I went to see Rob for a modification for my child custody agreement to relocate, I can honestly say that working with Rob and Christine has been the best experience. I cannot recommend them enough I only wish I had seen them sooner. They are prompt with communication, and they are honest which I appreciate so much. They do not give you fake promises and they do their best to fight for what you want which they do amazingly well! You can tell they are passionate about what they do and care about their clients. A very important aspect of lawyer client relationship for me is an open line of communication, the anxiety of the unknown always gets the best of us. The fact they were always available whether it be phone call or email to answer any question was extremely comforting and exactly what I needed. I am not well versed with laws and regulation so knowing I had Rob and his partners there when I was unsure or conflicted was extremely needed and greatly appreciated.When it comes to family court it's never easy but having Rob and his partner by my side I felt extremely comfortable and he helped me have realistic expectations. Please TRUST HIM!! If you're looking for a lawyer (at least for my end from child custody/Family Court) don't look any further you will not be disappointed. I hope to never have to use them again but in the event I have to, they are going to be my forever first call.
Sam Berg
Sam Berg
15:42 16 Sep 20
I hired Robert to handle a child custody and child support matter. He was prompt and professional and was able to achieve a result that 3 prior attorneys could not. He and his staff made a stressful situation easy. I highly recommend his office.


  • I have known Robert for more than 8 eight years. Robert has represented many of my family and friends. Each and every one has raved about Robert’s professionalism and expertise. He is knowledgable, friendly and truly cares about his clients. I would not hesitate to continue to refer Robert and his firm in the future!
  • I’ve known Robert for most of my life, and feel very fortunate that I have been able to turn to a good friend for various kinds of legal advice. He is very intelligent, straight forward, and professional. Most importantly though, Robert always finds the fastest resolution, and will not waste your time or money. He is NOT in the habit of dragging things through litigation if there is no need for the added expense. I have referred a few of my friends to Robert, and they have all been more than satisfied in their experience with him. Highly recommend!!



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