Can sole custody be requested over the other parent’s objection?

Are there reasons to oppose joint custody? The question almost seems anachronistic, given the current trend for shared legal custody awards. Nevertheless, our family law firm has helped clients who have had concerns about the other parent’s ability to provide a stable, nurturing environment.

Our attorneys can provide aggressive representation in a child custody dispute, but we also remind our clients to keep a child’s best interest in the forefront. We never want children to be caught in the middle of an unnecessary dispute, launched simply as an emotional tactic against the other parent. Where legitimate parenting concerns are present, however, we will get to work.

Keep in mind that legal and physical child custody awards can be different. Although joint parenting decisions might be easier when each parent also shares physical custody, there may be situations where a parent stays involved in the decision-making of major decisions regarding the child’s welfare, even though the child resides for longer periods of time under the supervision of the other parent.

What kind of factors might a court consider when evaluating whether a sole legal custody award is in a child’s best interest? There are multiple factors under state law, but many of them are common sense.

For example, a court presumes that a child benefits from a stable and safe environment. Continuity with a positive school environment and community might also be considered. For that reason, a parent who is relocating and will be working long hours or doing a lot of work travel might have a harder time presenting his or her case. However, our attorneys have seen a variety of creative approaches to child custody and visitation, and we will work to get the situation that best suits our client’s needs.

Source: “Reliable Legal Guidance On Child Custody Issues,” copyright 2016, Seder & Chandler, LLP