Sole custody is rarely granted anymore. Generally, the courts insist that both parents be involved in raising their children. Here are a few reasons why.
The importance of the child-parent relationship
The reason why the courts place a high value in the child-parent relationship has a lot to do with child development. Typically, children who can look to two role models for support are more likely to succeed. In fact, statistically, children are benefited emotionally, financially and intellectually by maintaining a bond with each parent.
The courts know that children are a handful. Splitting responsibilities between each parent is one way to encourage both parents to harness the full weight of them. This is because each parent can help to contribute to making the child’s life more well-rounded.
For example, a child may be able to compete in sports, participate in clubs and read regular bedtime stories because their parents switch off on schedules for these activities.
Overall, the time and cost of raising a child is more easily handled when each parent can step up to help.
Co-parents are also important to have in emergency situations. If one parent falls ill, gets injured or is involved in a family emergency, the other parent can take over. This is a much more safe and stable structure for children than relying on authorities to determine a suitable caregiver in an emergency situation.
When sole custody is granted
Sole custody is automatic if a mother does not recognize the father on their child’s birth certificate. But, doing this does not entitle the mother to collect child support payments.
A court will only grant sole custody if a parent is deemed “unfit,” meaning he or she is unable to care for the child's needs responsibly. Someone may be deemed as an unfit parent if he or she is dependent on drugs or alcohols or if there is a history of child or domestic abuse. Yet, even parents with domestic abuse history may still gain visitation rights with their child.
If you are unsure about the best child custody plan to seek, speaking with a professional can help you review the options that make the most sense for your individual circumstances.