Parents who are getting divorced are often worried about losing custody of their children. They’re afraid that sole custody will be given to the other parent.
First and foremost, you need to know that this is uncommon and it becomes even less common every day. More and more, courts are handing out shared custody to both parents. This is generally seen as something that is done in the best interests of the child, as having a relationship with both parents helps them developmentally.
But there are still cases where courts will assign sole custody. What are some of the reasons they may do it?
There’s a danger to the child
The main reason that the court will do this is if they think the child would be in danger while in custody of the other parent. This could be assigned if there are allegations of child abuse, for instance, or if the other parent has a violent criminal record.
But the court may also consider other issues in that parent’s life that pose a danger. Maybe the parent does love their child and would never intentionally hurt them, but they have a dangerous living situation or they’ve been involved in activities that seem hazardous. Sole custody could be given out if the child will be safer.
Can your ex do it out of spite?
If your ex is frustrated by the divorce and angry with you, perhaps because they blame you for that divorce, they may tell you that they’re going to seek sole custody just so that you can’t see the child. Their goal is to exclude you from your own child’s life because of the way that they – your ex – feel about you.
In cases like this, the court is very unlikely to apply sole custody. It is not the ourt’s job to do what the parents would like or what they desire. The court is trying to do what is in the best interests of the child. Since excluding the other parent is generally considered to work against those best interests, they’re not going to do it simply for this reason.
If you are involved in a complicated and contested divorce, take the time to carefully consider all of your legal options.