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When Can a Parent Get Sole Custody of Their Child?

When Can a Parent Get Sole Custody of Their Child?

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Although modern family courts try to give parents the opportunity to share custody of their children, it’s not always possible. One parent may get sole custody of a child if the other parent is unfit or unwilling to uphold their parental responsibilities under the law. 

For divorcing couples who have children, custody is one of the most highly contentious issues they may face. Most parents love their kids, enjoy spending time with them, and simply knowing they are near. Recognizing that it’s in the best interest of children to spend time and have a relationship with each parent, they prefer to grant joint or shared physical custody. Alabama family courts prefer joint custody arrangements over sole custody whenever possible. However, sometimes one parent desires sole custody, and other times the court wants one parent to have sole custody.

Types of Custody 

Courts divide child custody into legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody pertains to making significant decisions about the child’s upbringing and wellbeing. Decisions about education, healthcare, and religious instruction are made by the parent(s) with legal custody. On the other hand, physical custody refers to which parent the child spends most of their time with. If one parent has physical custody, the child will live with them but can also spend some time with the other parent. You can discuss such an arrangement with a knowledgeable Huntsville child custody attorney.

What is Sole Custody?

Parents can have shared or joint legal or physical custody, or one parent can have sole legal or physical custody. Generally, unless the two parents live in close proximity to each other, it can be challenging to share physical custody. 

Even if one parent has sole physical custody of the child, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the non-custodial parent won’t be able to see the child. The court can grant visitation rights. However, in some circumstances, it might be supervised visitation, depending on the case’s specifics. Supervision requirements might change over time, as well. 

Getting Sole Custody

If you want sole custody of your child, but your child’s other parent disagrees, you will need to petition the court for it. Your Huntsville child custody lawyer can help you take this step. However, you will need to have a valid reason for doing so. Reasons the court might grant sole custody include:

  1. You are unable to find your child’s other parent, or they are deceased
  2. The other parent is unavailable or unable to make decisions on a short notice
  3. The other parent will be relocating out of the state or country
  4. Parental instability
  5. Parental substance abuse
  6. Parental mental illness
  7. Child abuse, neglect, abandonment 
  8. The child is otherwise not safe or getting their needs met by the other parent
  9. Criminal history or current participation in illegal activity

 Courts generally need a drastic reason to award sole custody, but some circumstances warrant this type of ruling.

Questions about Sole Custody? Contact a Skilled Huntsville Child Custody Lawyer Today

Custody issues can be confusing and leave parents feeling emotionally drained and overwhelmed. However, you don’t have to face these matters alone. Schedule your case review with a skilled Huntsville child custody attorney by calling Cloud, Ryan & Rouse at 256-801-1000 or using our convenient online contact form.

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