Can Dads Receive Sole Custody of Their Kids?

 Posted on April 27, 2021 in Child Custody and Visitation

divorced dad child custody lawyerIf you are a father who is going through a divorce, or if you are unmarried and separated from your children’s other parent, issues related to the custody of your children are likely to be at the top of your mind. In our modern culture, dads are more and more likely to be closely involved in raising their kids, and in some cases, fathers may even act as stay-at-home parents or be the one who is most involved in caring for their children and meeting their needs. If this is true in your situation, or if you believe that restrictions should apply to child custody to protect your children, you may be wondering whether it will be possible for you to be granted sole custody of your kids.

When Is Sole Custody Appropriate?

While the specific laws that apply to child custody vary from state to state, most of the time, courts prefer for both parents to be closely involved in raising their children. Because of this, parents will usually share joint custody. In cases involving joint legal custody, parents will share the responsibility of making decisions about how the children will be raised. In cases involving joint physical custody, children will spend parenting time with each parent.

If the court does choose to award sole custody to one parent, it will usually be for one of the following reasons:

  • Abuse or neglect - If a parent has been convicted of physical or sexual abuse against their child or another family member, or if child services has removed their children from their home due to neglect, the court may determine that they are not fit to have legal or physical custody.

  • Mental illness or substance abuse - If a parent’s mental health issues or use of alcohol or drugs would put children at risk of physical or emotional harm, sole legal custody may be awarded to the other parent. Depending on the situation, parents may still share joint custody with some restrictions. For example, a parent may need to meet requirements such as obtaining treatment or refraining from using drugs or alcohol during their parenting time, or they may be required to have supervision present while they spend time with their children.

  • Abandonment - If a parent has left their family and failed to maintain contact with their children for an extended period of time, the court will likely award sole legal and physical custody to the other parent.

  • Relocation - If a parent chooses to move to a different state or country from where their children currently live, it may not be feasible for both parents to share legal custody, and sole decision-making responsibility may be awarded to the other parent. Parents may still be able to share physical custody in these situations and make arrangements for children to spend regular time with the parent who lives in a different state or country.

Contact a Child Custody Lawyer

In most situations, dads will be able to share joint custody with their children’s other parent. However, if you are the parent who is primarily responsible for making decisions for your children and providing ongoing, daily care, you may be able to receive sole legal and/or physical custody. In these situations, you will want to have a strong legal advocate on your side who can help you make the case before a judge that granting you sole custody would be in your children’s best interests. By working with an experienced family law attorney, you can find solutions that will ensure that you can continue to provide the care your children need and deserve.



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