In a divorce with children, there will need to be decisions made about child custody. Will there be sole custody or joint custody? Michigan law presumes that a child benefits from having a strong relationship with both parents, so joint custody is the norm.
If a parent has sole physical custody, the child lives with that parent (the custodial parent) most of the time. The non-custodial parent is given visitation arrangements.
So how does a parent get sole custody? It is not easy. You cannot simply want sole custody because you want nothing further to do with the other parent. Children still need their mother or father unless there is a convincing reason otherwise.
You will need to prove that the child’s stability and safety are at risk if there is joint custody. In short, the court looks at the best interests of the child. This involves many factors such as the relationship and bond between the parent and child, morality, fitness, age, and health of each party, who provides for child care and medical needs, the ability to provide a stable environment, the child’s place in the community, and the preference of the child (if old enough).
Factors That May Lead to Sole Custody
You may have a shot at getting sole custody of your child if any of the following apply:
- Severe or uncontrolled mental health issues
- Domestic violence against the child
- Substance abuse in the child’s presence
- Child abuse or neglect
- Concerns the parent will attempt to take the child and flee
If any of these factors are present, then the parent can pursue the case in court. In a child custody proceeding in court, the parent should consider the following:
- Documentation. A parent who wants to win sole custody should bring documents pertaining to custody matters to court.
- Courtroom etiquette. Parents who want to win sole custody should exercise proper courtroom etiquette by avoiding interruptions and angry outbursts.
- Courtroom dress. Parents who want to win sole custody should dress appropriately. This means wearing formal clothing such as suits, dresses, and dress shoes.
However, sole custody is rare. Courts are more likely to award joint parenting time schedules in cases where both parents are fit and live close to one another. Courts are reluctant to give full physical and legal custody to one parent unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as domestic violence, abuse, or neglect. If sole custody is a priority, you will need a skilled lawyer to show the court why it would be best for your children.
Contact Us Today
Sole custody is not easy to attain. Courts will generally default to joint custody unless there are clear and convincing reasons why sole custody should be considered.
The Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins can help you prove that sole custody is best for your child. Contact us today to learn more about the process. Fill out the online form or call (248) 646-7980 to schedule a consultation.