If you want to seek sole physical and legal custody of your children during a divorce, know that this may become a high-conflict case. Most parents do not want to give up all custody rights, and the courts generally prefer to split up custody, as well. They want to keep both parents involved.
The first thing to ask yourself is why you want sole custody. What is the reason behind your feeling that the children would be better off without your ex in their lives? Some common reasons people cite include these actions by their spouse:
- Alcohol abuse
- Criminal activity
- Drug abuse
- Domestic violence
- Mental health issues
- Restraining orders taken out against them
In short, you have to have a real concern for the child’s well-being. Many courts want to see a reason that makes them think that joint custody would make the child actively unsafe. They will grant sole custody to protect them.
If, on the other hand, they think you’re seeking sole custody just to spite your ex or because you are angry about the divorce, they’re not going to grant it. You also can’t use less drastic reasons, like saying that you just think the kids would be better off if they lived with you. The court wants to see both parents stay in the children’s lives, and it takes something important and obvious to get them to settle on any other solution.
Even when you feel like you have a great reason, this can still become a high-conflict case if your spouse disagrees. You must know what options you have and all of the steps that you can take.