If you belive that the life of your child would be in danger if the other parent is given joint custody of the child, then you should immediately get legal advice on how to get full custody of your child. You may also consider this option if you think that living with the other parent will have a negative emotional effect on your child.
In order to get custody of your child you have to prove in court that:
- Living with the other parent will be bad for your child,
- You can fulfill the needs of the child, and
- You are on good terms with the child.
You’ll need to think of people who can give evidence in court to support your claims about the other parent. Has your child told anyone else such as the teacher about how he or she has been mistreated by the other parent? Can you request that your child’s doctor testify to explain about any injuries or health issues that have been caused by the other parent, either directly or through neglect? Can you ask a daycare worker or someone else who knows you and your child to give evidence about your good parent-child relationship?
If these individuals do not consent to go to court, you can ask them for a sworn statement in writing, an affidavit, that can be presented in court. Also, if you think that their testimony is extremely important, you can ask your lawyer how to send them a subpoena, a court order that tells individuals that they have to appear in the court.
Guardian Ad Litem (GAL)
Consider requesting a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) to decide whether you should have sole custody of the child. A GAL is a neutral third party who has no information about the case. The person appointed as a GAL by the judge will speak with both parents and with people who know the child, such as day care workers, teachers, and relatives. In some cases, the GAL will have a conversation with the child.
The GAL presents a detailed report to the court with his/her recommendation for which parent should have custody of the child. Keep in mind that the report may include recommendations that are contrary to your requests. Therefore, it is important that you make sure you have a strong case before taking this step.
At the end of the day, the battle for a child’s custody is a messy affair. It is a complex matter that requires navigating through complex laws. Whatever steps you take, it’s important that the child’s best interest is kept at the forefront.