After you and your spouse divorce, you’ll likely have to figure out a custody plan. Most experts (and the courts), believe that parents should come to a mutual understanding and create a joint custody agreement concerning their children’s best interests.
A joint custody order is an arrangement in which both parents come together to ensure their children have their basic needs met. This typically works by having both parents discuss how their child should be raised – including schooling, medical evaluation, religious upbringing and other important decisions. Once an agreement is made, parents may split their responsibilities and obligations to ensure their children are raised in a healthy and respectful environment.
Yet, for some parents, joint custody isn’t feasible. This typically happens because one parent is absent or incarcerated, or the parent is abusive or unfit to take up their role and the child needs a safe place to grow. If this is the case for you, then you should consider making a sole custody request. Here’s what you should know:
Taking responsibility as a single parent
Unlike joint custody, where decision making is often split between parents, sole custody grants one parent total control over the decision making of their child. This means, one parent has exclusive rights over their child.
The major benefit of having sole custody is that you don’t have to consult with the other parent when making decisions on your child’s medical, educational or religious matters. Generally speaking, there’s a presumption it’s better for parents to share in these decisions – but that presumption is rebuttable. If you can show that your co-parent is unwilling or incapable of making reasonable decisions or cooperating in your child’s best interests, you may win over the court.
You should ensure you understand your legal rights when discussing a child custody arrangement. Custody battles can be very intense, so preparation is key.