Sole custody: Your right to decide on important factors

As a parent who would like to seek sole custody, it's a good idea to understand exactly what that means. Sole custody means that you'll have the exclusive physical and legal custody of your child. You will not have to ask the other parent for permission to allow your child to do certain things, but the other parent will need to ask you if he or she intends to travel with the child or seek medical attention for him or her, for example.

In many cases, parents share legal custody while one parent has sole physical custody. That means that both parents have a right to make decisions in the best interests of the child but only one has primary custody while the other may or may not have visitation rights.

Normally, a situation with sole custody has come about because one parent has been shown to be unfit to parent. The other parent typically has no legal or physical rights but potentially could have shorter periods of visitation. It's possible to have those visitation times supervised.

Sole custody has benefits, since you, as a parent, would have full control over the important decisions in your child's life. You'd be able to make educational, religious and medical decisions for your child.

Although sole custody makes things easier for the parent with it, it's not typical for it to be awarded unless there is a significant reason to do so. If you want to fight for sole custody, it's worth discussing your case with an attorney familiar with child custody cases.

Source: FindLaw, "Sole Custody," accessed June 01, 2018

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