Posts Tagged ‘sole custody’

Can One Parent Deny The Other Parent Visitation?

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

If a parent is awarded sole custody, this, in turn, gives them absolute autonomy in the decision-making process (and the execution of those decisions). This is because a parent with sole custody has both legal custody and physical custody of the child/children. The legal custody aspect is what gives the parent the ability to make all of the impactful choices regarding your child, while they are still a minor, without needing to consult the other parent for their input. There is a multitude of reasons why only a single parent is given the ability to make these life decisions for the child, and some of them do revolve around the non-custodial parent’s decision-making abilities and history.

These same reasons could be utilized and highlighted by the custodial parent in their effort to deny visitation. For example, if the other parent has a history of alcohol abuse, and upon arriving to pick up the child for their visitation day, they appear intoxicated; the custodial parent would have a good reason not to let the child go with this parent. In such a scenario, it would be wise to document this, most efficiently through video, as the other parent may mention it in court in order to make a case that you are violating the visitation agreement.        

It is a wide-held belief by the courts that a child develops best when in regular contact with both parents, and so even with sole custody, it is rare that a parent and child never see each other. So, if you are planning on requesting to deny your the other parent visitation entirely, it will require very thorough documentation (as credible evidence), and a significant pattern. An isolated incident will probably not suffice, but repeated instances could. 

Which Parent Is More Likely to Be Granted Sole Custody?

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

The question of whether a mother or father is more likely to get full, sole custody of their child is an interesting one. In the late 1800’s, a legal principle in family common law, known as the Tender Years doctrine, was commonly called upon to argue that the mother should have custody of the child. The idea behind the doctrine is that in the “tender years” of the child, a colloquial term referring to childhood and adolescence, it would be cruel to create any space between a mother and her young child, and that a child in these tender years needs all of the love and affection that only a mother can give. Granted, it was not written into the law, and it served more as an assumed presumption, one that was adopted by some courts in the U.S. from a custody law that was passed by British Parliament in the mid-1800’s. Still, it persisted in child custody battles for over one hundred years.

However, as time went on, the courts stopped recognizing the presumption, and actually went back and started reversing decisions that were heavily based on the tender years presumption, and the courts began ruling based on rather gender-neutral respects. That is why in most of the country, the court determine custody with the best interests of the child as the primary factor, where the presumption is that the primary caretaker is going to be the best parent to handle the primary responsibilities and custody of their small child.

However, there is a bit of similarity in these two determinants. In many instances, granting the mother sole custody is in the best interests of the child, either because the father is not a fit parent in his own right, or because the father moved significantly far, to the point that it would do more harm than good to relocate the child. But, keep in mind that, if the roles were reversed, these same reasons could be behind the rationale behind why a court would grant the father sole custody.

What Is The Difference Between Joint Custody And Sole Custody Of The Child?

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

In a previous blog, I discussed the difference between physical and legal custody, which differentiated between having the child live with you and having the right to make decisions for the child. In this article, we will be discussing the difference between sole custody and joint custody, both of which encompass the physical and legal custody of the child, or children, as well.

Sole Custody: One parent can have either sole physical custody, or can have sole legal custody of the children. This is not a popular outcome in most divorce cases, as it often alienates one parent from the child and prevents them from playing any role in the child’s life. Unfortunately, there are some cases where a parent will be awarded sole custody if the court deems the other parent unfit to take care of the child to any extent. Be it a drug or alcohol problem, or a history or tendency of being abusive or neglectful toward the child, there are some situations when a child needs to be kept away from one of their parents. But, as I said earlier, it isn’t as common for courts to award sole custody anymore. In fact, even if one parent is given sole physical custody, meaning the child mainly lives with them, both parents will often share joint legal custody, and moreover, the parent who isn’t given custody is allowed liberal visitation time.

In this scenario, the parents have an equal say in the decisions regarding the child, or children’s, life, but again, one parent is deemed to be the primary parental guardian that the child lives with.

There is no doubt that children do better with two parental figures in their life than one, so unless there is a real need to keep your ex-spouse away from the child, it’s best not to seek sole custody.

Joint Custody: When spouses who live together but share both the physical and executive custody of the child, it is known as joint custody. Joint custody doesn’t have to come after the parents get divorced; you can file for joint custody if you and your spouse are getting separated, or simply aren’t living together anymore. This is a much more common option that courts will exercise when deciding the living situation of the child. There is usually a schedule that is set up, along with housing accommodations that suit the child’s needs. Common arrangements are alternating months, six-month stays, sometimes even a year with one parent, it depends on what the parents decide.

And if the parents can’t come to an agreement, the court will decide for them. However, like everything in life, there are cons to joint custody. The child is moving around constantly, and there is a lack of a sense of a true “home,” and it can be expensive to have for both parents to maintain and own a home. The role of the parent here is to make the most of an unfortunate situation that the child never asked for in the first place.