If you and your spouse cannot agree, there are a few factors that can be used to determine who gets custody. The courts will look at how long you have been together, your history of conflict, how old and how well educated you are, and many other things. In many cases, both parents will petition for sole custody. This means they each believe they are the best parent for the child, or they both have similar beliefs about how the children should be raised.
Being unfit or unable to care for the child is one of the most common reasons that sole custody is granted. If the parents are unable to get along, this alone will cause the judges to award joint legal and physical custody to one parent. If you do not want to share custody, then this will most likely not occur. In order to prove that you are fit to care for the child, the judge will require you to undergo parenting classes and have a hearing with him or her.
Sole physical custody is also sometimes awarded when the parents live near each other and the child spends more time at home. If the parents live further apart, the judge may award the parents joint legal custody. The judge will look at what benefits each parent has to provide for the child. If the child has a substantial amount of time with the mother, then the judge will most likely award joint legal custody.
If you are going through a divorce and are seeking custody of your child, there are certain issues that the court must take into consideration. The divorce decree must state the details of who gets custody of the child. Unless the court says otherwise, it is the mother that is awarded physical custody of the child.
Although joint legal custody is more common, the court can also grant sole physical custody if it feels that the child needs it. This usually happens when the child has a special need such as drug addiction. Even if the child has no serious health condition, the court can still choose sole physical custody. The reason behind this is that the child will spend less time with his/her mother and therefore be at risk of falling into the hands of a parent that doesn’t care for them. Sole custody is not only limited to boarding schools or daycares, it can also apply to unmarried couples or same sex couples. Even if the child has a same-sex relationship, sole physical custody will be awarded to the mother.
If you are the primary caregiver for the child, it may be in your best interest to have visitation rights granted to you and/or your spouse. If you are unemployed, under a financial disability or have a partner who is willing to assume the role of caregiver, custody and visitation can be shared. Your employment and income should be considered but shouldn’t be put the final decision in your hands. If neither of you can decide between the options, the court can make the decision.
A court will consider how safe you and your child are when making the decision. One factor is if you’ve been the primary caregiver for the past several months. If you have been giving the child attention in the past month, you may be awarded sole physical custody. This means that you will be in charge of all decisions regarding the child, including healthcare and education. If you have been giving the child care that they need in the past year, the court may consider awarding you primary physical custody.
If you have been with the child for less than a year, or you haven’t been a primary caregiver for at least six months, you may be awarded joint legal custody. You will share the responsibility of caring for the child, and both parents will visit frequently. This is usually an uncontested arrangement so you should never feel forced into it. The courts do take into consideration how close the child is to both parents, their ability to provide for the child’s needs, the emotional well-being of the child and the ability of each parent to care for the child financially.