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Is sole custody ever in a child’s best interests?

As a devoted parent, you will likely do everything in your power to keep your child out of harm’s way. If you are preparing to divorce your spouse, your protective tendencies may extend to seeking sole custody. While this arrangement may not make sense for most families, you may be leaving your spouse due to their conduct. If their behavior endangers your child, pursuing sole custody could be in their best interest.

Understanding if sole custody would protect your child

In North Carolina, any custody arrangement you enter into must reflect the best interests of your child. If both you and your spouse are fit parents who can create a stable home, it may be in your child’s best interests if you two have joint custody. Your spouse’s conduct issues, however, could mean that it makes sense for you to seek sole physical and legal custody of your child instead.

If you seek sole physical custody and receive it, your home will be your child’s residence. And if you seek sole legal custody and receive it, you will make all decisions about your child’s life and well-being. While the court will likely award your spouse visitation, they may stipulate that their time with your child will happen under supervision, or with restrictions.

If you seek sole custody of your child, the court may award it to you if your spouse:

  • Has committed domestic violence against you or your child
  • Has substance abuse issues
  • Has serious mental health issues
  • Has neglected your child
  • Has demonstrated an inability to meet your child’s physical and emotional needs

During your divorce, you will want to fight for a custody arrangement that allows your child to thrive. If you think that seeking sole physical and legal custody is necessary for their safety and stability, a family law attorney can help you weigh whether it is appropriate to do so in your situation.

Your children, finances, and future are worth fighting for.

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Judith M. Daly is certified by the North Carolina State Bar as a Certified Family Law Specialist.

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