What are the chances of a father getting full custody?
It’s what every father walking into a custody battle is wondering.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- how to get full custody of your child
- the percentage of fathers who get custody
- how to win custody battles (and what NOT to do during a custody battle)
- what are a father’s rights to their child (whether you’re married or not)
- how fathers lose their visitation rights
- how mothers can lose custody battles
- how to improve your chances of getting full custody
Let’s get straight into it.
Table of Contents
- What Are The Grounds For Full Custody of Child
- How to Get Full Custody Of Your Child
- Father’s Rights (And How To Take Advantage Of Them)
- How Can A Father Lose Visitation Rights: What You Need To Know About
- Fathers Getting Full Custody: Other Things You Need to Know
- How to Get Joint Custody If Fathers Can’t Get Full Custody
- How To Improve Your Chances Of Getting Full Custody
What Are The Grounds For Full Custody of Child
Are you wondering what the grounds for full custody are?
If the mother has done any of the following, you may have grounds for full custody of a child:
- sexual abuse
- physical abuse
- child abduction
- child neglect
- domestic violence (to you or the child)
- violation of child custody orders
- parental alienation
You may initially think that a father getting full custody is selfish.
But if the mother is putting the child in danger, the father getting full custody is in the child’s best interest.
A mother endangering the child is one of the reasons a judge will change custody.
What Is The Percentage of Fathers Who Get Custody
We’re talking about what are the chances of a father getting full custody.
So, we should be looking at the data on the percentage of fathers who get custody.
We’re pulling data from a study done by the US Census in 2018.
They looked at how many mothers and fathers had full custody.
79.9% of custodial parents were mothers.
That means that only 1 out of every 5 custodial parents were fathers.
This means that the percentage of fathers who get custody is 20%.
|Percentage||Percentage of Fathers Who Get Custody|
Let’s put this into a better perspective for you for what are the chances of a father getting full custody.
For every 100 fathers, only 20 father get full custody.
Of those 20 fathers that get full custody, here’s the breakdown.
|Number||Fathers Who Get Custody For Every 100 Cases|
Now that we know the numbers, we can predict the chances of a father getting full custody.
For every 100 child custody cases:
- 7.8 divorced fathers will get custody
- 5.8 unmarried fathers will get custody
- 3.7 married fathers will get custody
- 2.3 legally separated fathers will get custody
And the chances are pretty slim.
So, let’s talk about some tips on how to get custody of a child so that you increase your chances of getting custody.
Tips On How To Get Custody of a Child
These are more than tips on how to get custody of a child.
It’s the sequence of events that need to happen if you want the best chances of a father getting full custody.
- hire a child custody lawyer
- understand the basics of child custody laws
- complete the child custody forms your attorney gives you
- your attorney will file the child custody papers for you
- your lawyer will schedule a court date for you
- you will show up to the child custody hearing
- your attorney and you will present your case for getting child custody
- the judge will issue child custody and visitation orders
While that’s the sequence you should follow for how to get custody of a child, now we can go over some tips.
The tips for a father getting custody of a child are:
- build a strong relationship with your child
- keep documentation of visitation schedules
- attend all of your child’s important events
- create a space in your home for your child
The better your life is set up for your child, the better chances of a father getting full custody of a child.
This means you should be accommodating everything from:
- social life
- extended family
- religion (if applicable)
How to Get Full Custody Of Your Child
You’re probably wondering how can a father get full custody of his child.
The courts won’t give a father full custody unless it’s in the child’s best interests.
Meaning, a father trying to get full custody won’t get it just because he wants it.
A father filing for full custody will only get it if it’s in the child’s best interests.
When you’re working on how to get full custody, there are a few things you want to do:
- gather financial documents (tax returns, pay stubs, income statements)
- do not falsify information (this is a violation of court laws)
- do not talk down to the mother
Financial information gets used to prove whether you can financially support the child if you get full custody.
If you falsify information about yourself or the mother, you are breaking the law.
But what if you’re dealing with an unfit mother?
This section will tell you how a mother can lose a custody battle.
I haven’t really given you any actionable steps for how can a father get full custody of his child.
First, I wanted to point out how difficult it is to get full custody for fathers.
But, as I mentioned, if it’s in the best interest of the child, the courts will give the father full custody.
There are several reasons a mother can lose custody of the child.
As a father, it’s your job to provide evidence if the mother is unfit to raise the child.
A father can get full custody if the mother is:
- abusing the child
- neglecting the child
- addicted to drugs or alcohol
- unable to care for the child
Even if you’re a father filing for full custody, do not lie about the mother.
It’s illegal to lie in court and you could lose custody and visitation rights to your child.
But it’s also not in the best interest of your child.
They deserve to have a mother in their life even if you really dislike her.
If you can provide evidence for the above reasons, then you will present this evidence to your divorce lawyers.
They will submit the evidence to the courts.
Related: How to Leave Your Husband
How To Win Custody Battle for Fathers
Let’s talk about custody battles for fathers.
Since the chances of a father getting full custody are lower, you want to do everything you can.
Here are some tips for how to win custody battles for fathers.
- pay your child support payments
- develop a strong relationship with your children
- document your visitation schedule, parenting plans, and other involvement in your child’s life
- show up to all extracurricular activities and events in their life
- make sure your children have their own space in your home
- create a plan for financially supporting your children
- create a plan for their education, extracurricular activities, child care, etc.
- be as respectful as possible towards the judge, the mother, and your child
- ask yourself if you really want full custody as a father
- give mediation a shot if you cannot come to an agreement
Even if you are the best father in the world, getting custody as a father is still tough.
Fill out the form on this page to get a free consultation with our best divorce lawyers.
We have experience in successful custody battles for fathers.
Let’s talk about what not to do during a custody battle.
Losing Your Fight: What Not To Do During a Custody Battle
Custody battles for fathers can become very emotional.
Especially when you know the chances of a father getting full custody are slim.
Attorneys joke that you see the “worst” side of good people when fighting for custody of a child.
I’d have to disagree, though.
You’re seeing parents, who love their children very much, try to prove to strangers that they are good parents.
A lot of parents are already critical of their own parenting skills.
Now to have divorce lawyers, judges, and juries sit there and pick apart their every move as a parent…
That’s a new kind of stress.
This is why it’s so important to avoid doing these 4 things during a custody battle.
This is a list of what not to do during a custody battle.
1. Talk Poorly About The Mother to Your Child
It’s common and sometimes you feel like you can’t help it.
You want your child to know that the emotional turmoil everyone is going through is not your fault.
But you’re doing more harm than good by talking about your soon-to-be-ex in such a way.
This shows the judge that you care more about hurting your spouse than being a good parent.
But it also negatively impacts your child, too.
Talking poorly about the mother is a good way to ruin the chances of a father getting full custody.
When you talk down on your ex, you are also bringing your child’s self-esteem down, too.
They know that they are equal parts of both of you.
When you talk down on their mother’s attitude, they internalize that negative self talk.
And often-times, they start thinking those same poor thoughts about themselves.
You and your spouse may not get along.
But you should save the negative comments for your next night out with friends.
And refrain from venting, or speaking negatively, to your child.
2. Excluding Your Spouse
The judge wants to keep the family together as much as possible.
That means they want to give equal parenting time.
Studies show children are happier when they have relationships with both of their parents.
The courts have recognized this.
And more times than not, they grant joint custody to parents.
This is why it’s so important to show your willingness to include your ex.
Judges view it as a red flag when one parent purposely blocks the other from the child’s life.
Sometimes this looks like “forgetting” to tell your spouse about a basketball game.
Or hosting a birthday party without them, knowing they won’t be able to afford to do so on their own.
Excluding your spouse from your child’s life shows the judge that you’re being selfish.
And this can have a negative impact on the chances of a father getting full custody.
But it goes both ways.
Sometimes the mother won’t let the father see the child when fighting for custody of a child.
This can backfire on her and increase the chances of a father getting full custody.
It’s important that you show your willingness to work together for the sake of your child.
The courts view co-parenting as what’s in the best interests of the child.
When you and the mother co-parent, you increase the chances of getting fair custody arrangements.
3. Posting Negatively About Your Ex on Social Media
Airing your dirty laundry on social media is never a good idea.
But it’s especially frowned upon when you’re in the middle of a divorce proceeding.
Like we said before, it’s a bad idea to talk bad about your ex to your kids.
The same is true about posting on social media.
It’s important to keep in mind that your ex’s attorney is probably checking your social media.
And probably taking screenshots of any snarky remarks you’re making.
Although you intend for your comments to be jokes or expressing your frustration, they might twist it into something different.
People have gotten in trouble for posting “threats” about their ex on social media.
Your ex might have hired an attorney that loves to twist your words.
This is why it’s important to keep the negative comments to yourself.
Posting on social media can make things a lot more difficult than they need to be.
Similarly, it’s important you also keep things like alcohol and drugs out of your social media posts.
Your ex’s attorney might use these kinds of pictures and posts against you during the custody battle.
This is true even if you aren’t abusing any substances.
They might go as far as implying you’re an unfit father because you posted about drinking with your friends on Superbowl Sunday.
4. Don’t Ignore the Court
Sometimes the court orders you to do something you don’t want to do.
And it can be really tempting to ignore them.
This is especially true when you don’t agree with what they’re ordering you to do (or not do).
In some cases, the court might order temporary child custody to your ex.
This could mean that your ex has sole custody during the divorce process.
Unfortunately, this happens more often than not.
Orders such as these can seem unfair and even cruel.
But they have to be followed.
If you do take matters into your own hands, the court will be able to hold you in contempt.
That basically means they can charge you extra fines, hold you in jail, or even “give back” visitation time to your ex.
When you disobey a court order, this will also hurt your chances of getting permanent custody.
This shows the judge that you aren’t a team-player when it comes to your kids.
Instead, you’re putting your own wants above what’s in the child’s best interest.
You don’t want to give the judge any reason to believe you are an unfit parent.
Abiding by whatever order they give is so important.
Even if you disagree with it, you must follow the judge’s order.
And if you don’t like it, you have the ability to try and modify it.
But this is not something you can just decide on your own outside of court.
Father’s Rights (And How To Take Advantage Of Them)
You’re probably wondering what are a father’s rights?
It depends on the situation, like whether they are:
- unmarried fathers
- married fathers filing for divorce
Unmarried father’s rights are non-existent.
The mother gets automatic full custody of the child born out of wedlock.
To get any custody of a child, the father will have to prove paternity.
After proving paternity, the father will have to file a petition for child custody.
If you fill out the form on this page, our attorneys can help walk you through this.
A married father’s rights are equal to that of the mother.
Married parents have equal rights to the child when they are filing for divorce.
To take advantage of your father’s rights, you can seek legal or physical custody.
And biological fathers have the right to seek custody and visitation.
This is true even if the biological father was not married to the mother.
The prerequisite is that the father proves his paternity before taking advantage of his parental rights.
Men’s Right in Divorce: Do You Get Any?
This is hard to believe.
But men’s rights in divorce are equal to women’s rights.
The old stigma is that the children should always stay with the mother.
Not all states believe that mothers automatically should have full custody anymore.
But, even though there’s progress for fathers, it’s still tougher for a father to get custody.
In general, the best interests of the child indicates that the mother should have custody.
So, while men’s rights in divorce are the same as a mother’s, the mother still is more likely to get custody.
Equal Rights For Divorced Fathers You Need To Leverage
You’re probably wondering what are the equal rights for divorced fathers that you can leverage?
Let’s talk about what the judge is going to be on the lookout for.
If you are excelling at these things, then the chances of a father getting full custody are much higher.
The main things that a judge looks at are:
- who is the primary caregiver of the child
- how strong your bond with the child is
- your relationship with the mother
The more you take care of your child, the more likely that you will be viewed as the primary caregiver.
- spending more time with your children
- taking them to school
- taking them to appointments
- taking them to extracurricular activities
- providing their basic needs
- feeding, sheltering, clothing them
This list is not all-inclusive, but it gives you an idea.
And no, excelling at ONE category does not count.
You have to be great at everything.
Remember, the chances of a father getting full custody are stacked against you.
The other thing they look at is your relationship with the mother.
Obviously, it’s not great since you’re going through the divorce process.
But the courts want to make sure that you are going to foster a healthy co-parenting relationship.
If they think that you are likely to cause co-parenting issues, they are less likely to give you custody.
Father’s Custody Rights You Need To Know About
A father’s custody rights to are the same as a mother’s custody rights.
This is true even though the chances of a father getting full custody are so small.
The courts believe that it’s in the child’s best interest for the parents to have a 50/50 custody split.
If you are fighting for father’s custody rights, here’s what you should know.
The father has equal rights to the child that the mother does.
The father can file a petition for custody and visitation at any time.
The courts believe it’s in the child’s best interests to have both parents equally involved in their life.
As long as you are a good parent, a good co-parent, and you are fully involved in the child’s life, you should have 50/50 custody.
Note that your perception of ‘being a good parent’ may differ from the court’s perception.
Make sure you hire a family law attorney who can guide you through the best interests of the child.
They will help you set up your life to facilitate the best interests of the child.
This will give you the best chances of getting 50/50 custody of your child.
Unmarried Fathers Rights: The Scary Truth You Should Know
An unmarried father’s rights depend on whether the father has proven paternity.
If the unmarried father has not proven paternity, he has zero rights to the child.
But after establishing paternity, an unmarried father’s rights are the same as a married father’s.
An unmarried father’s rights are that he has the right to file a petition for custody and visitation.
The judge has to give a court order for the unmarried father to have custody or visitation rights.
Until that court order gets issued, the unmarried father only has the right TO FILE for custody and visitation.
But it’s important to note that proving paternity means the unmarried father is responsible for child support.
This is true whether he files (or gets) custody or visitation or not.
As soon as paternity gets established, the unmarried father will owe child support.
Next, let’s talk about what rights does a father have if not on the birth certificate.
Related: Questions to Ask A Divorce Lawyer
What Rights Does a Father Have If Not on Birth Certificate?
If a father is not on the birth certificate, he does not have any parental rights to the child.
He can still get parental rights, though.
For a father who is not on the birth certificate to get parental rights, he has to:
- prove his paternity with a DNA test
- file a petition for joint or shared custody
Proving paternity gives a father who is not on the birth certificate rights to the child.
But an unmarried father’s rights does not mean that you actually get to have any custody.
Rights to the child mean that you have the right to petition for custody.
If you need help proving paternity and getting custody of your child back, fill out the form on this page.
Related: Grandparents Rights In Georgia
How Can A Father Lose Visitation Rights: What You Need To Know About
For a father to lose visitation rights, he must lose his parental rights.
And if you lose your parental rights, you have lost them forever.
So, while you are no longer obligated to pay child support, you also have zero rights to see your child.
You won’t be able to have custody, help make medical decisions, or have contact with your child.
Losing your visitation rights is a huge deal, and this is why it’s not very common.
The courts want to try and keep families together as much as possible.
It takes a lot for a father to lose his visitation rights and parental rights.
However, it can still happen, whether you want it to or not.
In general, there are two ways you can lose your parental rights: voluntary and involuntary.
Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights
This is most common when a step parent adoption.
Sometimes this is known as signing over parental rights.
Parents can surrender their parental rights if they decide it’s in the best interest of the child to do so.
By surrendering your parental rights, you’ll lose the right to see your child.
But what if you and your ex come up with an out-of-court agreement that lets you see your kids?
Although that sounds like a good plan, they can revoke this agreement on a whim.
And because you no longer have parental rights, the court can’t protect you.
This is something to keep in mind when deciding whether to voluntarily give up your parental rights.
Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
For the court to involuntary terminate your parental rights, they must find one of the following:
- you failed to follow a child support order for a year or more,
- you abandoned the child,
- you were convicted of murdering the child’s other parent, or
- you are incapable of being a parent or misconduct.
What is Parental Misconduct or Inability?
Proving parental misconduct or inability requires four elements to be met:
- the child is deprived,
- the deprivation was due to the parent’s failure to exercise proper parental care,
- this deprivation will likely continue, and
- such deprivation will cause serious physical or mental harm to the child.
Once the court determines you have committed parental misconduct, they will then consider what’s in the best interest of the child.
Would your child be better off without having you in their life?
Although you might not think so, the judge makes the final determination.
And if they have already determined you are unable to be a parent, it’s likely your parental rights will be terminated.
Related: Uncontested Divorce In Georgia
Fathers Getting Full Custody: Other Things You Need to Know
In this section, you’ll learn more about questions and scenarios we frequently get asked about.
- How a Mother Can Lose a Custody Battle?
- How Can a Mother Lose Custody of Her Child?
- What You Need To Do About Mothers Using Child Against Fathers
- What You Need To Do When The Mother Won’t Let Father See Child
- Can A Mother Lose Custody For Not Having A Job
Want to Know How a Mother Can Lose a Custody Battle?
Let’s say you’re in the middle of a divorce with irreconcilable differences.
You’re probably struggling to figure out how to get custody as a father.
So, let’s talk about how a mother can lose a custody battle.
This list will let you know what to look out for as a father in a custody battle.
The reasons a mother can lose custody are:
- child abuse
- child neglect
- substance abuse
- domestic violence
- parental alienation
- violation of custody orders
- untreated mental illness
- unsafe housing
- poor co-parenting
- right of first refusal clause
If you think that the mother is proving to be an unfit mother, you can order a child custody evaluation.
The judge will have a 3rd party evaluate the mother’s:
- home life
- parenting style
The evaluator sends a report on their perception of whether the mother is fit to raise the child.
Note that they will evaluate you as well.
Fill out the form on this page to get help with your child custody battle.
Related: Divorce Process In Georgia
How Can a Mother Lose Custody of Her Child?
There are 5 ways for how a mother can lose custody of her child.
The ways a mother can lose custody are:
- abuse of the child
- neglecting the child
- addiction to drugs or alcohol
- unable to provide care for the child
- violations of court orders
If your child’s mother is doing any of these, she can lose custody of the child.
You will need to provide evidence of her committing these acts.
Meaning, hearsay will not be proof enough for a judge to change custody.
Fill out the form on this page to set up a free consultation.
We can walk you through how to gather evidence and present it to the judge.
Mother Using Child Against Father: What You Need To Do
A mother using a child against the father is parental alienation.
A mother can use the child against the father by discrediting the father.
Usually, they do this by telling the child things like the father:
- does not love the child
- does not want to see the child
- left the child
- the father is a bad person
No matter what the mother is telling the child about the father, they will eventually believe it.
This causes the father-child relationship to suffer no matter how great the relationship was before.
When facing a mother using the child against the father, you should request judicial intervention.
Most likely, the mother won’t amicably resolve the parental alienation she is causing.
Your divorce lawyer can file for child custody modification.
Or they can file a motion for contempt of court orders.
Parental alienation is a grounds for child custody modifications.
Fill out the form on this page and we can get the ball rolling on your child custody modification papers.
Related: Emergency Custody
What You Need To Do When The Mother Won’t Let Father See Child
When it comes to when the mother won’t let the father see the child, there are two situations.
Either you have an order for visitation or you don’t.
Usually, if you were married when the child was born, you’ll have visitation rights.
But if the child was born out of wedlock, you may not have father visitation rights.
You Have A Court Order For Visitation
Let’s say you have a court order for visitation and the mother won’t let the father see the child.
In this case, the mother is violating a court order.
You will need to file a motion for contempt.
If the courts determine the mother won’t let the father see the child WITHOUT good reason, she:
- will be held in contempt
- has to make up lost visitation for the father
- may have to pay the father’s attorney fees
But what if the father does not have a court order for visitation?
You Do Not Have A Court Order For Visitation
If the child was born out of marriage, then you will have to prove paternity before you get any father’s rights to the child.
After you prove paternity, you can petition the courts for visitation rights.
Fill out the form on this page to get help fighting against a mother who won’t let you see your child.
Related: Divorce as a Stay at Home Mom
Can A Mother Lose Custody For Not Having A Job
A mother cannot lose custody for not having a job.
A lot of mothers were stay-at-home parents during the marriage.
Not only will mothers not lose custody for not having a job, but fathers will also most likely have to pay more in financial support.
Getting a divorce as a stay at home mom is tough on the fathers.
Mothers who have been out of the workforce usually:
- have lower earning abilities
- sadly, struggle to get a new job
- may have to go back to school for new skills
- may have to get training
All this means is that a mother who did not have a job during the marriage needs more time to get on her feet.
The father will have to pay more for spousal support and child support.
This is because these get calculated based on the earning abilities of each parent.
So, as a father, you can expect the mother NOT to lose custody and for you to owe more in financial support.
Related: Child Support Laws Georgia
How to Get Joint Custody If Fathers Can’t Get Full Custody
You probably realize that the chances of a father getting full custody are small.
But you can still easily get joint custody of your child.
So, let’s go over how to get joint custody if you cannot get full custody.
The steps for how to get joint custody are:
- file a petition for joint custody at your local family court
- serve the mother with the petition for joint custody
- schedule the court hearings
- attend the court hearings
- present your case and supporting papers or evidence to the judge
- receive your new child custody orders
Note that most judges want to give the parents joint custody.
They believe that it’s in the child’s best interests to have the parents equally involved in the child’s life.
Your chances of getting joint custody as a father are high as long as you take care of your child.
If you slack off on being a father in any avenue, don’t expect the judge to cut you slack.
Related: Cost of Divorce
How To Improve Your Chances Of Getting Full Custody
The odds are stacked against you.
You know it’s true.
So, what can you do about it?
Fill out the form below.
We fight for father’s rights every day.
You deserve to be in your child’s life.
You shouldn’t have that right stripped away from you just because a relationship didn’t work out.
If you want the best chance of getting custody of your child, fill out the form.
We will set up your free 30 minute consultation.
And we can decide if we are a good fit.