In most modern divorces, joint or shared custody is the goal. Both parents will have time with the children and shared responsibilities to provide for them.
Still, in a small number of divorces every year, one parent gets sole custody of the children. What are some of the reasons that the courts give one parent sole custody?
One parent doesn’t assert their rights
It may surprise you to know that one of the more common reasons that one parent receives sole custody is that their ex doesn’t ask for parenting time or other parental rights. The parents can reach a settlement outside of court that involves one parent taking full responsibility for the children even if the courts might have wanted the parents to stare custody.
One parent isn’t stable
Some people react poorly to divorce and start drinking too much or abusing drugs. Others have a hard time finding a place to live. If one parent has a very unstable personal situation, the court may grant the other full custody because it is in the best interests of the children. Of course, the parent without custody could seek a modification to the initial order once they improve their circumstances.
One parent is a verifiable threat to the children
In a very small number of cases, there is reason to suspect that either parent could be dangerous if left alone with the children.
Someone with a known issue with severe addiction or a documented record of physical abuse could present a danger if left to parent alone. Unproven allegations of abuse usually won’t be enough to get one parent sole custody. Hospital records and police reports or other convincing documentation will be necessary.
Understanding the limited reasons why sole custody orders occur can help you set achievable custody goals in your divorce.