If you are considering filing for sole custody of your child, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Sole custody should be sought after as a means to protect your child, not as a way to deprive the other parent. Your child is not a weapon that should be used to hurt the other parent. If your motive for seeking sole custody is revenge, or a plan to get more child support, you most likely are not going to get it. Judges see thousands and thousands of cases each year and there are plenty of parents trying to get sole custody for all the wrong reasons. False accusations have made it harder for the people with legitimate claims to protect their children.
If you want to get a sole custody agreement, you are going to have to prove to the court that sole custody would be in your child’s best interest. You will need to provide compelling evidence that the other parent is a danger to your child’s mental or physical well-being.
If your ex has a history of violence, you should seek sole custody. Even if he or she has not actually physically harmed your child, the potential to do so is a viable reason for requesting sole custody. If he or she has harmed you in front of your child, domestic violence committed in the presence of a child is considered child abuse in many states.
If the other parent has been physically abusive to your child, you should do everything you can to prove the abuse occurred and keep your child safe.
If your child has been sexually abused by the other parent or the other parent has sexually abused other children, press charges and get your child medical and mental health care. The abuse must be substantiated in order to ensure your ex never has the opportunity to harm your child in this way again.
Neglect is another reason to seek sole custody. If the other parent is unable or unwilling to meet your child’s basic physical needs (food, clothing, shelter, medical care, supervision, safety, etc.), you have a good case for sole custody if you can prove neglect has occurred or is occurring.
Substance abuse is a very good reason for filing for sole custody. It is one of the easiest behaviors to prove since you can ask the judge to compel the other parent to submit to drug testing. If the other parent fails a drug test, they will have no hope of fighting you for custody unless they have even worse evidence against you.
There are other reasons for trying to get sole custody of your child such as abandonment and criminal activities, but the bottom-line is that sole custody is a way to protect your child from physical and/or mental harm.
You should keep in mind that even if you are granted sole physical custody of your child, your ex will most likely be granted reasonable visitation with your child. Only the worst offenders have their visitation rights revoked. You can push for supervised visitation but you should be prepared to have to follow a sole custody visitation schedule if the judge finds it to be in the best interest of your child.
S.G. on February 12, 2014:
It seems the writer of this article should read her own article and follow it!!!! And not be sooooo money hungry!!! If you are an attorney, you should have some kind of heart to help those in need!!! Not saying you have to take every pro brono case, but when you are solicited and agree to take a case, take into consideration what a person is going through and their limited assets are not the client's fault.... but you agreed to take the case!!! :)