It would be nice if all California divorces were amicable, swift and economically feasible. The reality, however, is that many spouses face severe financial crisis following a divorce. It is also true that many parents are at odds about child custody issues. In some cases, parental conflict impedes the ability to achieve a fair agreement. Then again, some parents believe it would be best for their children if the court were to grant them sole child custody.
Since most family court judges believe children fare best in divorce when parents share custody, they must be convinced that there is a legitimate reason to grant one parent sole custody over the other. The court has children’s best interests in mind when making custody decisions. Therefore, it is up to the parent requesting sole custody to demonstrate why it would be best for the children in question.
Reasons a judge might grant sole child custody
There is no way to predict with 100% certainty whether a California family court judge will grant a parent’s petition for sole child custody in a divorce. However, the following list includes numerous issues that might compel a judge to do so:
- The two parents live a great distance apart and have agreed that sole custody would be best.
- A parent has evidence to prove that the other parent is unfit.
- The other parent has tried to alienate the children from the parent requesting sole custody.
- The other parent has repeatedly disregarded an existing child custody order.
- The other parent is in jail or deceased.
This list provides examples of reasons the court may determine that awarding one parent sole custody in a divorce might be in a child’s best interest. Remember that a child custody order is legally enforceable but not written in stone. A judge can modify an order at the court’s discretion, at any time.
You may request sole physical custody, legal custody or both
If you plan to seek sole child custody in a divorce, remember that there are different types of custody. Physical custody refers to your children’s permanent residence. Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to your authority to make decisions on a child’s behalf, regarding health, education or other important life issues.
When the court grants you sole legal custody of your children, it means you do not have to consult with your ex before making child-related decisions following your divorce. If you share legal custody, you must agree before implementing a decision. Make sure you understand California child custody guidelines before heading to court to request any type of custody arrangement.