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Sole Custody Lawyers

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What Is Sole Custody?

Sole custody is a type of child custody arrangement where only one parent has both physical and legal custody of the child or children. This is often though of as a more traditional child custody arrangement in the case of legal separation or divorce. However, more recent trends are moving towards alternative custody arrangements where possible, such as joint custody.

In a sole custody arrangement, the parent with custody is called the “custodial parent.” The custodial parent often has exclusive legal rights to make decision on behalf of the child, including decisions related to education, residence, medical care, and other aspects of the child’s life.

When Is Sole Custody Awarded?

As mentioned, courts are moving away from sole custody arrangements whenever possible, in order to allow the child some time with both parents. However, sole custody may be necessary under some circumstances, including:

  • One parent is deemed unfit for caring for a child
  • One parent is mentally or physically incapacitated
  • The child is at risk of any sort of abuse
  • One parent has decided to forfeit their parental rights and responsibilities

When determining issues like sole custody arrangements, a court will always consider the “child’s best interests” over the preferences or recommendations of either parent. This is to ensure that the child receives the best arrangement for their needs.

Can Sole Custody Orders Be Changed?

Child custody orders issued by a court are final, but they can usually be modified if there is a good reason to do so. For instance, if the other parent is later found to be capable of contributing to the child’s development, a court may allow them partial or shared custody.  

In such cases, it would be necessary to file such a request with the court, which can then make the appropriate legal analysis and changes to the arrangement. Again, any new changes to an existing custody order should be made with the child’s best interests in consideration.   

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Sole Custody Laws?

Child custody arrangements are very important determinations that generally require the guidance of an experienced lawyer. You may wish to contact a child custody attorney in your area if you need help obtaining sole custody. Your attorney can assist you through the legal process and provide you with valuable advice. Also, if you need help challenging a sole custody order, an attorney can assist you as well.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 07-21-2014 11:57 AM PDT

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