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What is the difference between sole custody and giving up your parental Rights...

Downey, CA |

I have an 11year son who lives in Hesperia now which is about 1hr and 30min from where i live now. His mom informed me that her and her husband were planning on moving to Connecticut and that she was going to file for full custody. I have always been in my sons life since birth and whenever his mom and i get into an argument she threatens to file for papers saying that she is going to use my criminal record against me. She has told me that if i don't contest her having full custody that she has no problem with him coming to see me on vacations or holidays. My question is; 1)will my record be held against me? 2)if i contest it,whats the process consist of.3) is it possible to have it set in stone that she agrees to let him come stay with me on Vacation or holidays no matter what.

My record consist of Drugs...also is it possible to let the mom have physical/sole custody but i can still have joint legal custody? I want to be able to have a say in case something goes wrong

Attorney Answers 2


  1. There's a HUGE difference between sole custody and giving up your parental rights. If one parent has sole legal and physical custody, the other parent may still be entitled to visitation as specified in a court order, is still entitled to access the child's education and health care records, at least in California, and is also still obligated for child support. The "non-custodial" parent can still ask the court to modify the custody order and change it if necessary for the best interests of the child, and if something happens to the custodial parent, the non-custodial parent is still the legally preferred next in line.

    If a parent has relinquished all parental rights, which usually happens in the context of an adoption, and NEVER happens without some sort of court intervention, then that parent's parental rights and responsibilities end completely from there forward.


  2. If you do not want your child to be taken out of state, then you do not want to give the custodial spouse full physical custody. Having full physical custody gives the custodial spouse the presumptive right to relocate out of state. You need to defend your interest in the child if you fear that you may be denied access to your child later. Moreover, it depends on what type of criminal record you have. If it is for domestic violence, molestation, or something along those lines, then yea, it could affect you. I would look into getting an order from the court outlining your custodial rights and arrangement.

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