Child custody cases are understandably emotionally taxing and are often complicated. When parents cannot agree on an appropriate custody arrangement, the court will decide. While the court tends to award joint custody to preserve the parent-child relationship, there are instances in which they award sole custody. Please continue reading to learn when sole custody is granted and how a trusted Suffolk County Child Custody Attorney can help you safeguard your parental rights.
What is a Sole Custody Agreement?
When determining child custody arrangements, the court considers various factors to ensure the child’s best interests are met. In most cases, the court will order a joint custody agreement, which allows both parents to remain active participants in their child’s life. The court tries to preserve the parent-child relationship because it acknowledges that it’s in a child’s best interest to be nurtured by both parents. However, when a joint custody agreement would put the child’s safety and overall well-being at risk, the court will award sole custody.
There are two different types of sole custody arrangements: sole physical custody and sole legal custody. If a parent is awarded sole physical custody, their child will live with them full-time, and the other parent will usually be awarded visitation (potentially supervised visits) unless the court determines visits are not in the child’s best interest. If a parent is awarded sole legal custody, they are responsible for making all major decisions concerning the child without consulting the other parent. This can include decisions about their child’s education, health care, religious upbringing, moral development, etc. It’s crucial to note that the other parent can make day-to-day decisions when caring for the child.
When is This Custody Arrangement Awarded?
As mentioned above, the court recognizes that having a regular and ongoing relationship with both parents is in a child’s best interest. However, there are certain circumstances in which the court will award this custody arrangement to protect a child from physical, mental, or emotional harm. If a parent is abusive toward the other parent or their children in any way, they present an obvious danger to the child. Therefore, the court will award sole custody to safeguard the child.
Another instance under which the court will award this custody arrangement is if a parent has previously neglected the child, as they pose the risk of ignoring them in the future. If a parent has a substance abuse problem, drugs, and alcohol can alter their mental state, which can prevent them from being able to care for the child properly. Similarly, if a parent has a mental illness that has not been treated, leaving them unstable, they would pose a risk to the child’s well-being. Furthermore, if a parent has shown little interest in their child or failed to maintain contact, abandonment will result in one parent receiving sole custody.
If you’re facing a custody battle, please don’t hesitate to contact the compassionate attorneys from The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C., who can help minimize this process’s emotional and physical effects on you and your child.