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If a father has temporary full custody, what are the odds that the mother will be granted 50/50 custody?

Huntington Beach, CA |

Mother gave over full custody to father when child was under a year old in order to enter rehab. The child is well taken care of by father and is in a stable environment (i.e. daycare, no drugs, etc.) Mother now wants 50/50 but the child does not know her anymore since he has only seen her about 12 times in the past 8 months. Will the judge grant her custody if father is against it? (Orange County Court System)

Mother did not stay in treatment and is back in her original pre-rehab environment which does not provide a drug-free atmosphere.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Not typically. In a perfect case, the ultimately goal of the family Court is that both parents have equal rights, equal timeshare, custody, etc. However, each case is different. Based on the facts provided, it is not typical that a Court would outright give Mother 50/50 just because she wants it. Typically if one of the parents has not been involved or has had limited time with the children, the Court may do a step up in visitation over a longer period of time with the ultimate goal that eventually there will be a 50/50 timeshare, etc. But that is assuming everything goes well along the way.

    Warning: This information is not intended to constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with appropriate legal advisors. Further, this response does not constitute an attorney-client relationship and any privileges associated with that relationship.


  2. The Orange County Judges are focused on the best interest of the child, focusing on their safety and well being. If Mother has issues with substance abuse and sobriety, then the court will want more information on that and will certainly consider that in light of any request for shared custody. If there were no issues of safety for the child, then the ultimate legislative goal is shared custody, but what that looks like is individualized for each child. Moreover, given that there is not regularly occurring custodial time for mom, seems unlikely she would just jump into a 50/50 plan. Upon determination that she is a safe custodian, the court would develop a plan to reunite the child with mom. Seems like mom would have a pretty tough fight on her hands. Good luck with your case and feel free to contact my office to schedule an appointment if you would like to discuss further.

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