2024 How to Get Full Custody of a Child as a Mother in California?

Whether in the case of a divorce or otherwise, custody is a contentious issue. Mothers who love, care for, and want to ensure that their child is protected may often believe that full custody, or sole custody, for themselves is the way to make that happen. However, custody must fit what the law defines. It’s important to recognize how those laws will impact a custody decision.

How to Get Full Custody of a Child as a Mother in California

It’s important to first realize that a mother will not get full custody of a child unless it can be justified under the parameters of the law regarding child custody in California. This means that you will first need to understand how child custody in California is determined by the law and courts.

Judges in California are required by law to make child custody decisions based on the best interests of a child. This means that they will consider a variety of factors involved in the situation and determine what custody arrangement best addresses the child’s welfare.

Custody is awarded in two different types of custody, legal custody and physical custody. While physical custody involves a child’s living arrangement and how their time will be split between parents, legal custody involves the decision-making aspect of parenting regarding important issues such as medical options, education, and religious upbringing.

The default assumption for California courts is that joint custody, where parents split custody, rather than sole custody, where only one parent is responsible for that aspect of custody, is a better option. In other words, this means that judges will need to be persuaded away from awarding joint custody. They are going to award joint custody unless they are shown why something different would better serve a child’s best interest.

Even when they need to award sole physical custody to a parent because logistics make joint physical custody impossible, they will still typically try to award joint legal custody.

The most likely way the courts will be persuaded away from awarding joint custody is if there is something about one of the parents that makes them a potential threat to the child. Concerns such as domestic violence, child abuse, and substance abuse issues all pose a threat to a child and could result in full custody being awarded to the other parent. However, the court will typically need some kind of proof of these issues, so merely an accusation is not going to ensure a mother full custody.

There are situations where enough smaller factors may also add up to requiring that full custody be awarded to meet a child’s best interests. However, this case will need to be well-presented by a child custody lawyer. Working with the right lawyer is essential for any mother seeking full custody.


Q: Are Mothers Given Preference in Child Custody in California?

A: Mothers are not given preference in child custody in California. A judge in a child custody case is required to act in what they believe is in the best interests of the child in question. To determine what is in a child’s best interests, they will consider a number of different factors that can help them understand the parents’ situations, as well as the child’s needs. However, they are prohibited from considering certain factors, such as sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.

Q: How Could a Mother Lose Full Custody of a Child in California?

A: A mother could lose full custody of a child in California if there is a change in circumstances, which means that the custody arrangement giving her full custody no longer serves the child’s best interests. There are a number of different issues that could lead to this kind of situation. However, some of the more common ones are the development of a substance abuse issue, becoming a violent threat to the child, or even withholding the legally required visitation rights of the other parent.

Q: Will a Mother Who Receives Full Custody Receive Child Support?

A: A mother who receives full custody of their child will typically receive child support. The purpose of child support is to ensure the child is properly cared for. Generally, because a mother with full custody will have more expenses in caring for the child, it’s likely that the other spouse will need to pay support. However, a number of factors go into determining child support, including the income of both spouses, so while receiving support is likely, it’s not a guarantee.

Q: Can Custody Orders Be Modified After a Mother Receives Full Custody?

A: Custody orders can be modified, even after a mother receives full custody. Custody decisions are based on what is going to serve a child’s best interests. However, this is based on the circumstances at any one moment, and if the circumstances were to change substantially, then the previous arrangement may no longer be serving a child’s best interests. These kinds of substantial changes in circumstances will need to be proven to lead to any kind of modification of custody orders.

We Help With Custody Issues – Creative Family Solutions

Custody is a sensitive subject and often one of the most contentious issues in all of family law. Parents who care for their children and aren’t on good terms with the other parent often believe that more time with themselves is appropriate. They may be right, but the decision will be up to a judge, so it must be legally proven that it is in the child’s best interests.

While there are no guarantees regarding how a judge will see a child custody issue, if you want full custody, it will depend on your strongest case being put forth. At Cianci Law, PC, we help ensure that our clients’ strongest cases are heard. We understand the nuance of the law and have experience with what judges are looking for when evaluating a child’s best interests.

If you’re dealing with custody concerns and want to ensure that your desires are well-represented, contact our team today.

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