How to Get Full Custody of a Child as a Father in North Carolina? 2024

Securing full custody of a child can be a challenging process, especially for fathers. However, with the right legal strategies and understanding of North Carolina’s custody laws, fathers could successfully obtain full custody in certain cases. For those wondering how to get full custody of a child as a father in North Carolina, a family lawyer can provide indispensable legal advice.

Understanding Full Custody

Full custody, which is sometimes referred to as ‘sole custody,’ means that one parent has legal custody, physical custody, or both of their child(ren.) When one parent has full custody, the other parent has no legal right to make any major decisions regarding the child’s life.

This includes where the child goes to school, what medical treatments are appropriate for the child, or what religion the child should be raised in.

Joint custody is often considered to be in a child’s best interest. Courts order joint custody arrangements unless circumstances show that full custody by either parent is in the child’s best interests.

Mediation is a common first step, which gives both parents the chance to arrive at a custody arrangement with an unbiased third party’s help. Reaching an agreement in mediation can save a lot of time and money, reduce conflict, and help both parents come to a custodial agreement they both are comfortable with without the pressure of court.

Proof Needed to Get Full Custody as a Father

To better your chances of getting full custody as a father, there are a few steps you’ll need to take.

  1. Prove a Stable Environment: For a father to be awarded full custody, he must show that he can provide a safe and loving home with a roof over a child’s head, a reliable paycheck, and a predictable daily routine. Fathers need to show they are participating in providing an education, doctor’s visits, extracurricular activities, etc.
  2. Prove Parental Involvement: Fathers should keep a record of their presence in the child’s life, which includes school functions, medical needs (if any), daily activities, and general welfare.
  3. Proof of Co-Parenting Abilities: Most courts favor cooperative parents. Demonstrating a willingness to communicate and co-parent with the child’s mother can positively influence the court’s decision. If, on the other hand, you think the mother is a risk to your child’s welfare, you should demonstrate this to the court.

Legal Criteria for Full Custody

North Carolina courts consider several factors when determining custody arrangements, including:

  • The Child’s Best Interests: The child’s best interest will always be the court’s priority. The court will weigh whether a parent can provide for the child — physically, emotionally, and developmentally — and then make a decision.
  • Parental Fitness: The court assesses each parent’s ability to provide a loving environment for a child’s safety and well-being.
  • The Child’s Preference: If the child is mature and old enough, their preference could be taken into account.
  • Parental Cooperation: The court evaluates each parent’s willingness to help foster the child’s relationship with their other parent.

Preparing for Custody Court as a Father

When preparing for a custody hearing, it’s crucial to develop a comprehensive parenting plan that details your proposed custody and visitation schedule. This plan should outline how you intend to meet your child’s needs and showcase your readiness and dedication. Include specifics for holidays, weekends, and summers if co-parenting is feasible.

Additionally, gather and organize any documents, records, or witness testimonies that will support your case, highlighting your involvement and suitability as the primary custodian.

Addressing False Allegations

If false allegations have been made against you, it is important to stay calm and rational. Focus on inspecting the allegations in detail and gathering corroborating evidence to counter them. Keep in mind that the courts like to deal with parents who are cordial with their exes, keep their child’s best interest in mind, and show maturity. Your family law attorney can provide guidance and effectively contest the false claims.


Q: How Can a Father Get Full Custody in NC?

A: In North Carolina, a father can obtain full custody by showing that it would be in the child’s best interest. That means demonstrating that he has a stable, nurturing environment and is active in his child’s life. He can also help his cause by showing that the child’s mother is not fit to parent.

Q: What Is the Biggest Mistake In a Custody Battle?

A: The biggest mistake in a custody battle scenario is to not act in the child’s best interest. Acting out, whining, deriding the co-parent, leveling false allegations, making unfounded accusations, or being inflexible can all harm a father’s argument for full custody. You’re more likely to win a favorable arrangement if you show you’re making an effort to co-parent and look out for your child’s best interest.

Q: What Should I Not Say During a Custody Battle?

A: During a custody battle, fathers should avoid making derogatory comments about the other parent. Do not exaggerate or make up false claims to try to sway the courts in your favor. You should also never discuss the case with your child. It is important to remain calm, respectful, and focused on providing evidence that supports the best interests of your child.

Q: Who Wins the Most Custody Battles?

A: In a custody battle, oftentimes, no one wins or loses — instead, joint custody is common. Only the best interests of the child are taken into consideration. As long as a mother or father requests custody, each has an equal opportunity to be successful, as determinations are not based on gender.

Whether one’s request is granted or not boils down to many considerations, such as whether each parent could provide a stable and nurturing home and how involved they are in the child’s life.

Contact a North Carolina Family Law Attorney

Securing full custody as a father in North Carolina requires a solid custody plan, thorough documentation, and an incontrovertible case for how your parenting will benefit your child. If you’d like to win primary custody as a father in North Carolina, you’ll have to know what the law requires of you and what to avoid. That’s where an experienced family lawyer like Aimee E. Cain can help.

If you are a father seeking full custody, contact The Law Offices of Aimee E. Cain today to schedule a consultation. Our dedicated team is here to help you navigate the legal process and advocate for your parental rights.

Do not face the difficulties of divorce alone.
Call (704) 960-4656 or Email us to Schedule a Consultation.