There are times when having a custody agreement where one parent has sole custody makes sense. Sole custody, also known as sole legal or physical custody (one or both), means that one parent will have custody of their child while the other has visitation rights. In some cases, such as when one parent is potentially dangerous or requires supervision, a supervisor may be present for those visits.
Parents may need to have sole custody for a few reasons. For example, if the other parent works 60 hours a week while the primary parent works 35, it makes sense to leave the child in the custody of the parent who works less. Another example may be if a parent travels often or needs to move out of state. In that case, the child may be placed in the sole custody of the more stable parent or who has a better support system locally.
Should you seek sole custody?
There are a few clear-cut reasons to seek sole custody, such as in cases of abuse, unstable mental illness, substance abuse or incarceration. In other cases, parents may seek sole custody if one relocates or continually fails to be present in the child’s life.
Sole custody can be beneficial, but most judges want to make sure that your child will regularly see both parents if the situation warrants it. Even with sole custody, the parent without custody may still have regular visitation times.
Sole custody is helpful for children who need balance and a strict routine as well. If traveling between homes is disruptive or your child’s visitation schedule is too stressful, you and the other parent may agree to have a sole custody arrangement, at least with physical custody, until your child gets older.
Will a judge agree to sole custody?
If you and the other parent agree to a sole custody arrangement, then it is likely that a judge will approve it. However, if you are in a contentious situation or do not agree, then you could be looking at a situation where you have to explain your wishes to the judge and have them rule on your case.