Exploring The Sole Custody Choice

Law Blog

Most divorcing parents want to do what's right for their child when it comes to custody and visitation decisions. Naturally, parents who are unable to stay married might have trouble agreeing on other issues as well. The issues that concern minor-aged children are of primary concern to the family court system, so if an agreement by the parents is not possible, the judge will make decisions in their stead. Child custody choices abound, so read on to find out more about one common choice: sole custody.

What Is Sole Physical Custody?

When the child resides with one parent only for the vast majority of time, that is sole physical custody. The sole custodian has traditionally been the mother of the child, but there are no legal bars to the sole custodian being the father instead. Legally, both parents are considered equal. Just because the child spends more time with one parent does not detract from the other parent's right to make important decisions concerning the child. Discipline, religion, education, and other vital areas of the child's life are meant to be made jointly. In fact, in some places, this form of custody is referred to as joint custody with sole physical custody by one parent. Unless there are problems with the other parent, visitation is always ordered.

Benefits of Sole Physical Custody

The benefits of sole custody:

1. Having the child reside primarily with one parent most of the time can promote security during a stressful change like divorce. The alternative custody choices might involve the child being shuffled back and forth between the parents on a 50/50 basis. The younger the child, the more benefit is derived from keeping the child in a home, neighborhood, and school they are accustomed to already.

2. The child still has the opportunity to spend time with the other parent. How much time and when is up to the parents so a custom-made parenting plan can be utilized to ensure the non-custodial parent has plenty of one-on-one time with the child. Some parents agree to every weekend, but plans can be as flexible as the parents wish.

3. Both parents retain equal rights to making decisions about medical and other important issues.

Creating a Parenting Plan

To ensure that everyone is on the same page of music, create a plan that addresses:

  • Contingencies in case of illness (of the parents or the child).
  • How to handle holidays, birthdays, and school vacations.
  • Taking into consideration your work schedules.
  • Rules about pick-ups and drop-offs, diet, activities, and relationships. For example, you might not really consider it now, but what if your ex wants your child to go on vacation alongside their new girlfriend/boyfriend?

To find out more about sole physical custody, speak with your divorce lawyer.


26 April 2019