When you are considering a divorce and have children, one of the first topics you’ll need to discuss with your spouse is your children’s custody arrangements. If you feel strongly that your spouse is not a positive role model or isn’t capable of caring for your children, it may be reasonable to ask for sole or primary custody.
In the majority of custody disputes, the courts like to see both parents spend an equal or relatively equal amount of time with their children. This is called joint custody. However, there are times when sole custody may be a better route.
For example, if domestic violence or abuse is common in the home, then it may be realistic to ask for sole custody to protect your children. The court may agree if you can prove that your children are at risk.
When may sole custody agreements be necessary?
Sole custody arrangements may be necessary if:
- There is a history of abuse or assault against the children or their parent
- Mental illness makes it impossible for one parent to appropriately care for their children
- One parent has abandoned their children for long enough that the court agrees that they should not have custody
- One parent is incarcerated and can’t provide an adequate home for their children
- One parent is planning to relocate and it would be better for them or the other parent to have sole custody
- Neglect has led to injuries to the children or has put them at risk in the past
All of these reasons are good reasons to look into sole custody. If you want to get sole custody based on one of these issues, you should build a strong case against your spouse or partner. You will need to provide evidence of abuse, neglect or other issues that make it a bad idea for them to care for your children regularly.
If you want sole custody in a divorce, remember that the other parent may still retain visitation rights. You can ask the court to supervise visitation time, though, which may help put your mind at ease when your children are with the other parent.