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Why do courts award sole custody?

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | DIVORCE - Divorce

During a divorce, parents must determine a custody arrangement for their children. While courts review a variety of factors related to custody, they strive to make a decision that supports the child’s well-being.

In some cases, courts may decide that sole custody is the right option if they believe a child is better served by the arrangement.

The child’s best interests

Above all else, courts prioritize the best interests of the child when determining custody. This means that the judge will assess various factors to determine which custody arrangement will provide the most stable and nurturing environment for the child.

Parental ability to provide care

Courts evaluate each parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs. This includes factors like each parent’s living situation, employment stability and ability to provide emotional support. If one parent is better equipped to fulfill these responsibilities, the court may award sole custody to that parent.

Child’s relationship with each parent

Another factor courts consider is the quality of the child’s relationship with each parent. If one parent has a history of neglect, abuse or other harmful behavior, the court may determine that sole custody is in the child’s best interests. Additionally, if one parent was largely absent, the more involved parent may receive sole custody.

Stability and continuity

Consistency and stability are important for a child’s well-being, especially during times of family transition. If one parent can offer a more stable and consistent environment for the child, the court may grant sole custody to minimize disruptions in the child’s life.

Parental cooperation and conflict

Courts also take into account the ability of parents to cooperate effectively regarding the child’s upbringing. If parents demonstrate a pattern of high conflict, the court may lean toward awarding sole custody to one parent. In this case, sole custody may reduce ongoing conflicts and promote a healthier environment for the child.

No matter what the court decides, parents must honor their decision. That entails following visitation orders and treating the other parent with respect, regardless of any ill feelings that may linger after the divorce.