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4 Circumstances For When A Parent Can Get Sole Custody

4 Circumstances For When A Parent Can Get Sole Custody

When pursuing custody of your child, you might be concerned about how difficult it can be to seek custody of your child. You might feel that it is unsafe for them to maintain a relationship with their other parent, or they would be in harm’s way if you shared physical custody.

If you find yourself seeking sole custody for the sake of your child, you should contact a trusted child custody attorney to learn more about your options.

Why Do Courts Prefer Joint Custody?

The courts in New York generally prefer joint custody arrangements because they feel that it is in the best interests of the child to have both parents involved in their life. With joint custody agreements, the child can maintain relationships with both parents and continue living with both parents. However, there are times when sole custody is a better option for the child.

What Is Sole Custody?

Sole custody is when only one parent is awarded physical and legal custody of the child. This means that the child will live with one parent, and that parent will make all decisions regarding the child's schooling, medical care, and extracurricular activities. The other parent can have visitation rights, but they will not have any decision-making power when it comes to the child.

When Is Sole Custody Awarded?

There are four main circumstances in which sole custody may be awarded.

One Parent Has a History of Being Abusive

The court does not want to put the child in an environment where they would be at risk of domestic abuse by one parent or another household member. If one parent has been convicted of domestic abuse, is facing domestic violence charges, or the child has an order of protection against the parent, the court is less likely to grant joint custody of the child.

  1. One Parent Has Substance Abuse Issues

If one parent struggles with substance abuse issues, the court will also be more likely to award sole custody of the child to the other parent. The court wishes to keep children away from risky situations that they might encounter if one parent has a drug or alcohol dependency.

  1. One Parent Has Mental Health Problems

If one parent has unmanageable mental health issues that would prevent them from fully caring for the child, the court might also award sole custody of the child. Mental health problems are important to identify when caring for children, and in some cases, the parent will be unable to fully provide for their child.

  1. One Parent Has Alienated the Child

If one parent has intentionally alienated the child from the other parent, the court will take this into consideration when making a custody determination. Alienation can take many forms, such as badmouthing the other parent to the child.

However, before awarding sole custody, the court will do everything in its power to help families experiencing parental alienation. The court does not take awarding sole custody lightly, and if sole custody is awarded to one parent, it is usually because joint custody would be detrimental to the child.

Modifying to Sole Custody

In some cases, the family might have begun with a joint custody agreement but soon learned that it would not be in the child’s best interests. If this is the case, the court does have the ability to modify the custody agreement to award sole custody to one parent; however, this must be in the child’s best interests.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys

If you are seeking sole custody of your child, it is important to speak with an experienced child custody attorney. The attorneys at Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law have helped many parents seek custody of their children. We will work with you to understand your unique situation and help you seek the custody arrangement that is in the best interests of your child.

Get started and schedule a consultation by calling our firm at (516) 688-0088.


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