There are two main types of child custody that can be awarded: sole custody and shared parenting (commonly known as joint custody). Both parents will share parenting responsibilities. in a joint custody arrangement, however only one parent will be primarily responsible in a sole custody arrangement. The court typically prefers joint custody arrangements, since most judges believe it is in the child’s best interest to have both parents involved. So if the court system prefers joint custody arrangements, when is sole custody awarded?
What Factors Does the Judge Consider When Making Child Custody Decisions?
The judge will take a number of factors into consideration when deciding how to rule in a child custody dispute, including:
- The custody arrangement preferred by the parents and child
- The child’s current relationship with the parents and other family members
- The child’s home, school, and community
- Both parents’ mental and physical health
- Both parents’ criminal record
- How likely each parent is to comply with the terms of a court ordered child custody agreement
- Whether or not parents want to relocate with the child
- Each parent’s willingness to communicate with the other parent
The judge can consider other factors as well, however there are certain factors that cannot be considered, such as a parent’s financial status.
When is Sole Custody Awarded?
The judge will award sole custody to one parent if he believes that doing so is in the best interest of the child. For example, let’s say the mother informs the court that the father has a history of domestic violence. If there is evidence that proves this to be true, the judge will not feel comfortable giving the father physical custody of the child, so he may award sole physical custody to the mother. If the judge believes the father should also not be involved in making important decisions in the child’s life, he can award sole legal custody to the mother as well.
Sole custody can also be awarded if one parent does not want custody or does not have an existing relationship with the child. A parent’s health could affect this decision, too. If the judge believes that one parent’s mental or physical health makes him unfit to raise a child, sole custody will be awarded to the other parent.
Another reason why sole custody may be awarded is a parent’s unwillingness to cooperate with the other parent. For instance, if the father has demonstrated that he has no desire to co-parent with the mother of the child and will not do so even if it is ordered by the court, the judge may award the mother sole custody.
If you are involved in a child custody dispute, let the family law attorneys at Adams Family Law help. We will fight to ensure that the child custody arrangement ordered by the court is in the child’s best interest. To schedule a consultation, call 513-929-9333 or email Steven@adamsfamilylaw.com.