When one parent is awarded sole custody, he or she is known as the custodial parent and alone holds the child’s physical and legal rights. The parent without custody, called the non-custodial parent, maintains the parent-child relationship through court-ordered visitation rights.
When One Parent is Unfit to Have Custody
The best interest of the child is always the court’s primary goal when determining custody, and a court will not hesitate to award sole custody if either parent is deemed unfit to care for the child. While the factors to determine a child’s best interest vary by state, some common considerations include:
- The child’s relationships with family and household members and other caregivers
- The parents’ ability to provide a safe home and adequate food, clothing, and medical care
- The mental and physical health needs of the child
- The mental and physical health of the parents
- The history or presence of domestic violence in the home
When considering sole custody, the court examines issues involving alcohol or drug dependency, child abuse charges, and/or neglect charges.
The awarding of sole custody can cause a great deal of tension, and it is generally not recommended to seek sole custody unless one parent is a direct harm to the child.
Misconceptions About Mothers’ Custody Rights
Many state court systems have moved away from generally awarding sole custody to the mother if another arrangement might be in the child’s best interest. It is widely recognized that the active involvement of both parents is the best way to proceed. To accommodate this shift in cultural roles, courts sometime award physical custody for one parent, while both parents share legal custody and a generous visitation schedule. However, courts frequently award joint physical and legal custody.
How We Can Help
If you are getting divorced and need to make custody arrangements, the attorneys at Petrelli Previtera, LLC can assist you through the process of reaching and filing a durable custody agreement – whether you need to go to court or not. We will answer your questions, explain how to get started properly, and ensure you are as informed as possible. Contact our firm to schedule a consultation.
Contact Petrelli Previtera, LLC for Assistance
Determining custody can be one of the most stressful aspects of divorce and separation. To reach your goals quickly and efficiently, you need the right information from day one. Contact Petrelli Previtera, LLC to schedule a consultation. We can answer your questions, help you get started, and ensure you are as informed as possible throughout the process.