Around one of every four children in the United States are under the guardianship of only one parent. In many of these cases, sole custody was granted to the parent after a divorce.
Winning sole custody in court is more often than not an uphill battle. If you are worried for your child is unsafe under the care of your ex-partner, sole custody could be the best option for you and your child. Read on to understand why.
What Is Sole Custody?
Child custody is broken up by two primary classifications: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody grants the guardian rights to make legal decisions regarding a child. Physical custody refers to who the child primarily lives with. Both of these can be shared between the parents.
This shared type of agreement is respectively referred to as joint legal custody or joint physical custody.
A sole custody arrangement is defined by one parent possessing both physical and legal custody. In these cases, the other parent has no custodial rights. Sole custody may also be referred to as full custody.
How a Court Determines Sole Custody
Joint custody is the standard arrangement among many family courts. In order to successfully win sole custody, a guardian must convince the court that sole custody would be in the child’s best interest.
There are many reasons to want to seek sole custody:
- Abuse or neglect
- Alcoholism or drug addiction
- Mental illness
- Living accommodations
You must demonstrate any reason as to why joint custody shared with the other parent would be harmful to the child. All reasons used as evidence in court should be clear and confirmed.
Another lesser-known reason is relocation. A parent can contest for sole custody if the other parent has decided to relocate and move out of state.
Developing a Strong Case
Presenting a daily lifestyle for the child under your care goes a long way in determining sole custody.
Disrupting a child’s life is the last thing the court wants. Start by presenting eating schedules, sleeping arrangements, and what an educational plan would look like under your sole custody. The court looks to confirm that the child is your number one priority.
Unless the child is in harm’s way with the other parent, they are usually granted visitation rights in many sole custody cases. Visitation rights are to make sure the child maintains an active relationship with both parents.
Consider developing a fair visitation plan for the other parent to spend time with your child.
Court Room Presentation
Custody rights are solely determined by the family court judge. How you present yourself in court plays into whether you are granted sole custody.
Demeanor plays into how a judge determines fitness for sole custody. Be sure to listen to the judge and try to not interrupt. Keeping composure shows the judge that you are stable and reasonable enough to take sole guardianship of the child.
Covering Your Bases
This goes without saying, but you should hire a lawyer when contesting for sole custody.
Chances are, your ex has already hired their own lawyer. Hiring a lawyer for your divorce case demonstrates your level of preparation. Divorce laws also vary state by state. A divorce lawyer will make sure you present the best legal case to the court.
Contact us today to learn how we may be able to help in your divorce case.