• How to Get Sole Custody

    Before the Industrial Revolution, children were considered to be the legal ‘property’ of the fathers. It was believed that in case of divorce, the children benefited more by staying with the father instead of the mother. Then at the turn of the twentieth century, the concept of a mother being the child’s ‘caretaker’ came into prominence. For a long time after that, the mother was almost always granted the sole custody of a child. But later, the American Courts began to give more importance to the ‘best interest of a child’ in deciding the child custody. As of now, most parents are given joint custody (joint physical custody or joint legal custody) of their child (or children) so that the child continues to share a meaningful bond with both his/her parents. Sole custody (sole physical custody or sole legal custody) is given only in exceptional cases to either parents (sometimes sole custody is given to a third-party like grandparents or guardians). These exceptional cases include those in which one or both the parents are unfit and a court is convinced that the situation of a parent (or parents) can have a negative impact on the well-being of a child.

    Steps for Getting Sole Child Custody

    Step 1: Determine the Reason behind Your Demand for Sole Custody

    The first thing a court will want to know is why you want sole custody. If you don’t have a genuine reason and the court realizes that you are using your child to get back at, or hurt the other parent, you are liable to lose some or all of your existing custody rights. The reasons that are accepted by the court are listed below:

    • A parent is suffering from a certified mental illness that can harm the child.
    • A parent is a drug addict or a chronic alcoholic.
    • A parent is known to be violent and/or has been involved in child abuse.
    • The parent is a convicted criminal (crimes that warrant sole custody differ from state to state).
    • A parent has a history of being a pedophile.
    • A parent has neglected or abandoned the child.
    • A parent has an unfit partner or spouse.
    • A parent indulges in destructive behavior which can put a child in dangerous situations.
    • Both parents have high conflict and cannot take a ‘joint’ decision for their child.
    • Being with one of the parents is in the best interest of a child.
    • A parent has violated previous court orders significantly.

    Step 2: Prove the Validity of Your Reasons

    Along with a definite reason, you will also need a backing of substantial proof to validate them. Some of the ways you can prove your point are:

    • Photographs or videos that ‘show’ what you ‘tell’
    • Witnesses, especially those from educational or medical fields
    • Reports from a hospital or police department
    • Letters, conversation recordings, printout of messages or emails that ‘speak’ on your behalf
    • Any other document that will strengthen your case (e.g., a record of times the other parent has missed visitations, skipped child support payment, etc.)

    Step 3: List the Reasons Why You Make a Good Parent

    It is not enough to prove someone else as an unfit parent. You have to prove that you can be a good parent and that being with you is in the best interest of your child. A judge does not look kindly on a parent who files for sole custody because he/she has a grudge against, or is competing with, the other parent. Things that will help your case are listed below.

    • A steady schedule that fits well with your child’s routine
    • A child-friendly environment and good living conditions
    • Personal stability and healthy social relationships
    • Active involvement in the life of your child (parent-teacher interactions, participation in extracurricular activities, etc.)
    • Regard for the other parent’s relationship with the child
    • Proof of good parenting skills (e.g., child discipline, care, etc.)

    Step 4: Legal Process for Sole Child Custody

    Filing for sole custody of a child requires a lot of your time, energy and money. Even then, there are very slim chances of getting a sole child custody. So if you are determined to get the sole custody of your child, the first thing you need to do is get a good, experienced attorney to fight your case. You can file for custody per se only if you have good knowledge about custody law or have someone to watch your back as far as the legalities are concerned. One wrong move on your part can cost you heavily in a family court. Advocate or no advocate, there are certain basic things you need to do.

    • File for a social investigation and home study motion according to which the court will order an evaluation of houses of both the parents.
    • File for a sole custody motion stating your reasons.
    • Stress on the care and facilities your child will receive in your home.
    • Do not badmouth the other parent at any point – this will only make you look vindictive.
    • Give honest and true self-appraisal at all times.
    • Because child custody laws vary from state to state, it becomes imperative to carefully study your state laws.
    • Verify any advice you get, before following it through.
    • Make sure to document all interactions with the court, attorney and/or any other person related to the custody proceedings.
    • Send a copy of the relevant court documents to the other parent.
    • Request a date for court hearing before leaving the court and be punctual for every court hearing.
    • Follow all the court orders diligently and promptly.
    • Notify the other parent on time (not too soon, nor too late) about the court hearing and keep a proof of the notification.
    • Set your limits and know your boundaries so that you don’t come across as rash or inconsiderate.
    • Be firm yet willing to negotiate on certain issues.

    The cost of fighting a sole custody case is high. The social investigation and home study motion alone cost more than $10,000. If you are unable or unwilling to finance the whole custody proceedings on your own, you can request the court to split up the cost between you and the other parent. Also, sole custody case takes a considerable amount of time to conclude. Be prepared, patient and do not lose heart in the face of troubles (there will be many). Watch your step and ignore what anyone says to threaten, discourage or blackmail you.

    Advantages and Disadvantages of Sole Child Custody

    While having a sole custody might appeal a lot to you, getting one is not without its downside. In certain cases, a sole custody has been of tremendous benefit and in certain others, it has proved to be more of a curse. Some of the pros and cons of sole child custody are listed below.


    • It protects a child from an abusive or unfit parent.
    • It avoids confrontation of conflicting parents.
    • It removes the child from harmful influence.
    • It makes it easier for the parent with sole child custody to take decisions on the child’s behalf.
    • It gives a child a steady and stable environment.
    • It enables both the parents to move on in their respective lives without each other’s interference.
    • There are no ‘double instructions’ for a child to follow.
    • The parent with the custody rights is rid of guilt over separation from the child and hence is able to be a better parent to the child.
    • It reduces the expense of maintaining two homes for a child.


    • It alienates a child from one of the parents.
    • One parent is left with little to no connection with his/her own child.
    • One parent is burdened with the entire responsibility of the child.

    Keeping the above points in mind, it is safe to say that sole custody should be sought for only if you are sure that the other parent will do more harm, than good to your child. No matter what kind of person he/she is, a child needs to know both the parents. Parental alienation, for any reason, will have strong repercussions in the present and the future of your child. That is why, even if a court were to grant sole child custody to one parent, the other parent would still have visitation rights (supervised if need be) and the custody rights can be revised when adequate changes are seen in his/her situation. In short, the well-being of your child should be your first priority and sole custody as a last resort.


  • What is No-Fault Divorce

    No-fault divorce is a kind of divorce in which, neither the husband nor the wife has committed wrongful action. The persons filing for petition need not show any evidence that the respondent has done any wrongful action. Normally, the person who files petition in the court reveals to the court that the respondent has caused breach of martial contract. But when a person is filing for no-fault divorce, then he does not blame the respondent. Usually the people who wish to remarry file a no-fault divorce petition because they can secure divorce very quickly and do not face any complication. Hence they do not blame the respondent in a major way.

    But the laws are stringent in some parts of the United States such as Albama and hence they do not easily grant divorce for no-fault divorce. The no-fault divorce is also stated as a divorce act that takes place due to the mutual consent with each other. Some states allow the couples to file joint petition also. Usually when the couples are undergoing no-fault divorce, they agree with each other in most of the aspects. They are easily able to compromise on matters such as property issues, asset division, bank accounts, mortgages and other financial aspects. They are also able to decide about child custody.

    Most of the couples state to the court that they were not able to get along with each other or openly communicate with each other in any terms. Most of the states grant divorce to the couples if they are seeking for mutual divorce. They usually state the terms such as ‘incompatibility’ or ‘irreconcilable differences’ in the petition letter. The couples should live apart from each other for a period. They may live apart for six months to one year. Even if they are seeking for no-fault divorce, they should follow some legal terms when they are handling the financial aspects or child custody aspects.

    When the petitioner blames the respondent for breach of martial contract, then this term is known as ‘fault divorce’. The court handles most of the issues for fault-divorce such as property division, asset division, bank accounts split, child custody etc because the couples are unable to decide upon such issues. Usually the respondent pays huge amount of compensation for fault-divorce.

    Following are the advantages of no-fault divorce.

    a. In the United States, the divorce rate has drastically dropped since the enactment of non-fault divorce was introduced.

    b. The man or the woman who is suffering from his or her spouse since longer period can easily gain relief.

    c. The sentiments of the children are not broken so deeply and the process of divorce becomes easier.

    d. The couples can acquire divorce within a shorter period of time.

    e. The children who are abandoned by their parent continue to acquire care and protection because the social relationship between the spouse is not spoilt.

    Usually the family court undertakes decisions regarding the financial aspects and child custody, although the couple is able to decide peacefully between each other harmoniously.

    What is No-Fault Divorce” is an article of StateDivorce, a database of Hialeah, FL lawyers.

  • Why You Should Educate Yourself on Child Custody Laws in New Jersey

    When dealing with child custody in the state of New Jersey it is important that you make sure you fully eduacte yourself on this topic. If you are involved in a child custody case then this article is for you. It is important that you and your ex-spouse have equal time with your child. This is especially the case for very young children. It is important that you now the law so that you can do what is best for your children. There are several things that you need to know after you have been served with the papers that define your custody. If you take your child and try to conceal him or her from the other parent you will be committing a crime. So it is very important that you fully understand and follow all of the guidelines laid out for you. If one of you actually violates the order, then the court may make additional orders. Some of these are adding additional time with the children, or even awarding additional money to compensate for the lost time. You will also want to keep in mind that the laws in New Jersey are very diferent from other states.

    You will also want to keep in mind, that if you fail to pay your child support it may affect your visitation rights. Unfortunately the one who will really be hurt by this process is your child. Even if you lose your job you should still take the time to contact the court to make them aware of this. It will probably mean that you have to fill out additional paperwork, but at least it will not affect your child. Remember that no matter what you have the rights to see your child. The child custody laws are supposed to be to help the child not make things easier for you. Another thing that you will want to keep in mind is that if you constantly fail to pick up your child when you are supposed too that the other parent can then take you to court and have the custody order changed. For additional help and information on child custody laws in New Jersey you should take the time to visit the following websites, www.judiciary.state.nj.us/family/paretime.pdf. Make sure that you read everything completly and carefully. If there are still some things that you do not understand than you should take the extra time to talk with an attorney. You do not have to hire them to represent you in court, but you can at least have them explain how child custody laws work in New Jersey.

    Renee is a stay at home mom who homeschools, and a wife, who has been writing for a number of years on a variety topics. Some of these topics include homeschooling, travel, and parenting tips which are a few…  View profile

  • A New Perspective on New Jersey Child Custody

    Actually she belongs to New Jersey, doesn't she?


    Often times, New Jersey child custody is viewed as a battle.  A grueling, painstaking battle between mother and father.  A battle where one will come out victorious.  After all, what’s a battle without a winner?  But is that really how New Jersey child custody should be viewed—as a battle?  And if there’s a winner at all, shouldn’t it be the child? It seems as though parents, amidst the dark days of divorce, lose sight of what’s “in the best interest of the child.” So, let’s take a timeout and examine New Jersey child custody in a positive light, one where the child’s best interest is actually the primary consideration.

    While divorce in New Jersey has the potential to be an unpleasant and emotionally challenging experience, it can also be amicable.  People divorce for all different reasons.  Whatever the situation may be, petty grievances need to be put aside in order for a level-headed, mature decision to be reached regarding your child.  New Jersey child custody should be considered from the viewpoint of the child, not the adults.

    While most individuals like to think they know what’s best for their kids, sometimes a little guidance is needed. This is where a New Jersey divorce lawyer and New Jersey child custody laws can be of assistance.  Over the years, New Jersey child custody laws have been amended to fit the best interests of the child.

    Based on the New Jersey Divorce Statute, the following factors may be considered for New Jersey child custody:

    •    The parents’ ability to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the child.

    •    The parents’ willingness to accept custody and any history of unwillingness to allow parenting time not based on substantiated abuse.

    •    The interaction and relationship of the child with its parents and siblings.

    •    The history of domestic violence, if any; the safety of the child and the safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent.

    •    The preference of the child when of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent decision.

    •    The needs of the child.

    •    The stability of the home environment offered.

    •    The quality and continuity of the child’s education.

    •    The fitness of the parents.

    •    The geographical proximity of the parents’ homes.

    •    The extent and quality of the time spent with the child prior to or subsequent to the separation.

    •    The parents’ employment responsibilities.

    •    The age and number of the children. A parent shall not be deemed unfit unless the parents’ conduct has a substantial adverse effect on the child.

    At the end of the day, New Jersey divorce lawyers and the courts, in general, are going to look for what’s in the child’s best interest.  As an adult, regardless of your marital situation, you should do the same.  However, it is advisable to always seek the counsel of an experienced New Jersey family law and divorce lawyer.  By staying proactive and level-headed, you will be able to reach a child custody arrangement where your child will continue to grow into a healthy adult.


  • Managing Your Finances During Divorce

    Divorce may be considered one of the most stressful time for any family going through it. It can be stressful emotionally and financially. Objectively, any divorce can be settled with less problems and stress. However, due to the height of emotions, both spouses can be unreasonable and pig-headed. The emotions are usually triggered by fear, anger, and their respective perceptions of failure.

    The impact of the divorce on the children can likewise add to complications. Though the mother has always been favored in child custody, the divorce case can drag on for a long period because of disputes in alimony, child support, or child custody. While the case remains unsettled, the mother already commences with life as a single parent as the children are usually temporarily left in her custody while the legal battle rages on. I guess there is no pause button to being a mother. Despite the difficulties surrounding us, it is a role that must be upheld regardless of the circumstances.

    It is during that initial stage of being a solo mom that many experience problems financially. The cost of lawyers’ fees alone can be staggering while the case remains unsettled. Thus, it is necessary to resolve everything at the soonest possible time. While amicable settlement may be the best answer to reducing the cost of divorce, it may be easier said than done.

    How do you manage finances at that crucial period then? For the mother, the best thing at that point would be to keep expenses at the minimum. If possible, she should also ask the father to assist in supporting the children during that period. Moreover, the case will be easily settled if all documentations are complete and irrefutable. As such, you should start preparing for all your post-divorce financial goals early on. Be prepared with all your plans on children’s college expenses, debt reduction, taxes, and even retirement assets. All documents related to shared bank accounts, assets, and debt should be ready by the time the case starts. Since assets will be divided, don’t try to hide any asset from the court. This may eventually be discovered during court proceedings and prolong the case as the assets will be re-divided again upon discovery.

    For the single mother, keep in mind that the most important thing to focus on is protecting your financial health. Your children’s future will depend on the outcome of the settlement. Though you have an attorney who will take care of everything, it is also best to be aware of the laws in your state that involve divorce. Know your rights from the start and be firm in asserting them. And whatever agreement you are able to close with your spouse, be sure it is in writing to avoid any future complications. Whatever you agree on the pension plans, division of assets, tax liabilities, or debt, make sure it is something your spouse does not agree on just to settle the matter. Put everything on paper to protect yourself from any alleged miscommunications.

    And if you do decide to take the leap again, remind yourself of the lessons you have learned from your previous divorce. Better yet, get a pre-nuptial agreement (if you still have trust issues, but it that’s the case perhaps you shouldn’t be marrying him). Though you may feel that everything will be fixed once the material things have been dealt with, don’t forget about your children and the effects the divorce will have on them. After all is said and done, they are still more important than any asset, liability, or settlement.

    All the best and much success!

    Samantha a.k.a. Rich Single Momma

    Author, 100 Secrets of Successful Single Motherhood

    P.S. Did you get your Single Mom Survival and Success Kit? It’s FREE and full of incredible information that will transform your life. So stop fooling around and get your kit now! Did I mention that it’s FREE!

    P.P.S. Did you like this post? Let me know in the comment section below and pass it on to a friend. This might be just the thing they need to hear right now.