John Elledge & Assoc PC
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A bilingual law firm serving Shenandoah Valley and the surrounding areas of Virginia.

What is sole custody and how is it determined?

Children are undoubtedly at the mercy of legal decisions during divorce and custody disputes. What’s at stake is if a child will have equal, partial or no access to the other parent. Custody battles have a reputation for being a long and complicated process. It is often highly stressful for parents and children when legal decisions are in limbo.

Tensions arising from both sides of this sensitive debate are common as heated arguments are heard by the court. The obligation of the family court system is to decipher what is genuinely in the best interest of the child. Although shared custody is the most common outcome, sole custody may be a possibility depending on your situation.

Sole custody explained

Sole custody is an option that a parent may legally pursue while deciding child custody agreements. Obtaining sole custody of a child means having both physical and legal rights regarding the child. Perhaps you believe your son or daughter will be better off without the other parent involved. You might want to petition for sole custody if you feel your child might be in danger or could suffer harm in any way.

Drug abuse, violence and absence

If the other parent is judged unfit due to abandonment, struggling with a drug addiction or a history of child abuse, this could constitute for a sole custody agreement. Since sole custody grants exclusive parenting and legal rights to one parent, you need strong reasons for court approval.

You will need to gather as much evidence to provide the court as to why you believe you should be granted sole custody. If approved, sole custody allows you the right to make decisions about your child without the other parent’s involvement. This may be limited to only physical or legal custody rights, but sometimes both. Consulting a family law attorney and other legal advisors can help you understand the law and what steps to take next.

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