How to get single-parent custody?

If you are going through divorce proceedings, one of the issues that will cause you the greatest concern is the custody of your children.

In our Family Law there are 4 types of custody :

  1. Single-parent, individual, or exclusive custody. When it is attributed to one of the parents.
  2. Shared custody. When it is attributed to both parents.
  3. Split or distributive custody: When custody of the children is distributed between the two parents.
  4. Custody exercised by a third party. When custody is attributed to a third person (grandparents, relatives…).

Through this post, we explain everything you need to know about single-parent or exclusive custody.

Are you looking for a custody lawyer?

What is single-parent or exclusive custody?

The term custody refers to the coexistence or habitual and daily care of children.

In the case of single-parent custody, this coexistence and usual care remains in the hands of one of the parents:

  • Paternal custody 
  • Maternal custody

Traditionally, custody of minor children has been attributed to the parent with whom the children will remain, generally the mother.

Currently, there are increasing cases in which the shared custody regime is established because it is considered more beneficial for the children.

However, it is still the most common to grant single-parent custody to one of the parents (custodial parent).

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The custodial parent will be the one who has the greatest contact and personal relationship with the children.

Regarding the use of the family home, it is attributed to the custodial parent, unless the parents agree to it approved by the Judge.

For his part, the non-custodial parent will enjoy the following rights:

  • Right of visit. The non-custodial parent may visit the children, normally two afternoons a week, without an overnight stay. Always respecting the children’s activities.
  • Right to communication: You will be able to communicate with your children without any limitations, also respecting their activities.
  • Right of stay: The non-custodial parent may stay with his or her children for several days and spend the night with them (alternate weekends and half-holidays).

Likewise, the custodian parent must be informed of the most relevant issues regarding the children.

Can I agree to single-parent custody with my spouse?

The answer is yes. The most advantageous thing is always a good agreement for the benefit of the children.

In this case, a divorce process by mutual agreement would begin, faster and less painful for the family unit.

The agreement consists of attributing single-parent custody to one parent and establishing a visitation regime and alimony for the children.

Once the agreement has been reached, you must put yourself in the hands of a good Family lawyer, who will be in charge of drafting a regulatory agreement which, in addition to other matters, will state:

  1. The name of the parent to whom single-parent custody of the children is attributed (custodial parent).
  2. The rights and duties of the other parent (non-custodial parent). That is, the visitation regime, alimony…
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The regulatory agreement must be ratified by both and approved by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which will always intervene for the benefit of the minor.

Now, the final decision is made by the Judge taking into account the best interests of the minor.

What to do if I want sole custody and I cannot reach an agreement with my spouse?

If you do not reach an agreement with your spouse, you must initiate legal proceedings against him in order to achieve single-parent custody.

This would be the contentious divorce procedure, each of you defending your position to obtain single-parent or exclusive custody.

Also, in this case, you need a divorce lawyer.

In the divorce petition, you can request single-parent custody of your children and substantiate this request.

Before making a decision on child custody, the Judge must :

  • Request a report from the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
  • Hear the minor if he has sufficient judgment.
  • Assess the allegations and evidence of the parties.
  • Value parents’ relationships with each other and with their children.

The final decision corresponds to the Judge. Who, valuing all of the above, will decide what best suits the well-being and interests of the children?


1-How do I get full custody of my child in the USA?

To get full physical and legal custody, you must prove to the court it is in the child’s best interests due to factors like the other parent being unfit or inability to cooperate and co-parent.

2-How is child custody determined in America?

Judges determine custody based on the best interests of the child, considering factors like parental fitness, relationship with each parent, stability, safety, and willingness to facilitate visitation.

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3-Who is more likely to get custody of a child in the US?

While gender biases have decreased, mothers are still more likely to get physical custody of children in the U.S., while fathers are more likely to get visitation rights.

4-Who has the most rights over a child?

If parents have joint legal custody, both have equal rights concerning major decisions about a child’s welfare, while physical custody determines residence and day-to-day care.

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