Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.
The father should file a petition in the family court for full custody. If the divorce has already been filed, then the petition can be filed with that same judge as part of the divorce. If the divorce has not yet been filed, then the father can start a new case for the purpose of determining custody. The father should retain an attorney for this purpose. He will have the best chance at winning custody with the help of an attorney. However, if the father cannot afford it and if the church cannot help with finances, then the father is entitled to file the petition himself. The court clerk should have the required forms. If you tell me your state, I may even be able to find the forms online for you.
As for whether or not the father will win, it certainly sounds promising. Based just on what you told me, and assuming the father has no issues regarding parenting, then I suspect that he'd win custody. It is absolutely irresponsible to leave the kids alone for days at a time. The judge will not be impressed. I suspect the father would win physical custoday, and the mother
would have limited visitation (possibly supervised).
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