Making The Sole Custody Decision: What To Consider

Divorce for parents also calls for custody decisions. Anything that applies to minor children during divorce can be fraught with added emotional weight. For parents considering sole custody, read on to learn more.

Custody Choices: Legal and Physical

When parents are no longer living under the same roof, there are two main custody choices. Legal custody applies to almost all parents since they both are expected to make important decisions about the child together — even if divorced. Only in cases where one parent is unfit will the parents not always share legal custody. Physical custody, though, is just as it sounds. It's who the child resides with most of the time. Parents may also have 50/50 (or shared) physical custody where the child bounces back and forth from parent to parent. You may also consider custody where one parent only is primarily responsible for the health and well-being of the child on a daily basis. This is known as sole custody.

What Parents Need to Know About Sole Custody

This type of custody is not meant to deprive one parent, or the child, from spending time with another parent. Sole custody almost always involves some form of visitation that allows the non-custodial parent to have time with the child. The amount of time and other details must be dealt with, though, as part of the parenting plan. 

Sole physical custody is often seen as less disruptive for the child since they will reside in one place primarily. That may allow them to remain in the same neighborhood where familiar friends and a school remain even when the parents are divorcing. Parents can create a visitation schedule that best suits the child and the family. Often, the non-custodial parent will have visitation for a weekend or so and one school night with the child. School vacations, holidays, and birthdays may be alternated between the parents.

When issues arise with visitation, the parents are expected to work things out between themselves as much as possible. However, when one parent is disregarding the best interests of the child, custody and visitation can be altered. More than allegations should be present so be ready to show proof of parental wrongdoing like abuse, substance abuse, criminal activity, and more before speaking to your lawyer about a hearing.

To find out more about whether or not sole physical custody is the right choice for you and your child, speak to a child custody attorney