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Sole custody rights give one parent complete child custody privileges and responsibilities and deny these rights to the other parent. Sole custody rights are typically granted to one parent when the other is shown to be unfit for parenting. Examples of what might make a parent unfit for custody rights can include: history of violence and/or destructive behavior, placing the child in dangerous situations, mental instability, drug and/or alcohol abuse, and things of this nature. When one parent displays attributes or behaviors which compromise the best interests of the children, the court may award sole custody rights to the other parent.

The family court will always make custody judgments based on the best interest of the children involved in the dissolution of a marriage or other relationship. If it is in the child's best interest, the court will award sole custody rights to one parent. In general courts prefer to award joint custody in cases where both parents are fit for parenting. The objective is to allow both parents to develop a bond with their child, even in the absence of a marital bond between the parents.

Parents are strongly cautioned against petitioning the court for sole custody rights based on vindictive feelings harbored against the other parent. The courts do not take favorably to parents who wish to seek retaliation by way of child custody arrangements. Parents who present valid cause for sole custody rights based on the best interests of the child may be more apt to be awarded custody of the child. Judgments regarding sole custody rights are also subject to state specific laws and the discretion of family law judges. For this reason, it is highly advisable that parents involved in contested or conflicted child custody negotiations seek the professional advice of a qualified family law attorney.

Sole custody rights actually involve two different types of custody rights: legal and physical. Legal sole custody rights give one parent complete authority over all decisions that affect the child's life including those made about things like healthcare, education, activities, religion, child care, and more. Physical sole custody rights mean that the child will live with the custodial parent who is responsible for the physical welfare of the child.

Child custody can be arranged in a number of ways. One parent may be awarded full legal and physical sole custody rights. One parent may have legal sole custody rights but share physical custody with the other parent by ways of a child visitation arrangement. One parent may have sole custody rights but the other parent may be able to spent time with a child which is supervised by a neutral third party adult.

Sole custody rights are always subject to the discretion of the family court. A parent can petition the court if they have valid cause to request a change in the child custody arrangement.

If you are interested in learning more about sole custody rights and other child custody matters, please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced family law attorney in your area who can determine the best way to protect and maximize your legal interests.

More information on custody:

Issues Regarding Child Custody

Child Custody Rights

Child custody rights may be shared by both parents or, primary child custody rights may be awarded to one parent or legal guardian. Since the 1970s the family court will award child custody rights contingent with the best interests of the child.

Custody for Fathers

Child custody for fathers following a divorce is one of the most important aspects of a dissolving marriage. Throughout history the legal presumptions about child custody for fathers has changed significantly. Before the twentieth century children were regarded as the property of their father. Under common law, child custody for fathers was commonly awarded, as children were considered a father's rightful property. A major shift occurred after this period in history, as family courts came to favor mothers in child custody cases. It was presumed that under normal circumstances, children did better when placed in the sole custody of their mothers.

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