While many parents wish to have sole custody over their children, in practice it is rare that it is granted. The courts generally assume that it is in the best interest of children for their parents to have joint physical custody. However, there are situations in which sole custody is the best option, particularly when one parent has an issue with substance abuse or mental health issues.
If sole custody is being sought by one of the parents, the standard for making a decision does not change. As with any other custody case, the outcome will be determined by what is in the best interest of the child. In reaching a conclusion on what is in the child’s best interest, the court will examine factors such as the ability of each parent to care for the child, the emotional and physical needs of the child, the current relationship each parent has with the child, and the stability of the home seeking sole custody.
A common example of when the court may grant sole custody is in a situation where one of the parents has demonstrated a clear history of family violence. Another is when a parent has a history of substance abuse or mental illness that leaves him or her unable to consistently provide proper care for his or her child.
Whether you are seeking primary custody or want to prevent the other parent from getting sole custody, remember the court will always look at what is in the best interest of the children.