Trying to share custody with your ex after a divorce is not easy. Strong emotions are common, and many parents even try to use their children as weapons against their ex. Historically, quite a few parents have sought full custody just as a way to punish their spouse or feel like they won in the divorce.
The Kentucky family courts try to avoid these potentially damaging custody disputes by focusing not on the rights of the parents but rather on the best interests of the children when they arrange custody. For most families, the best interests standard means that the parents will share custody after the divorce.
However, in certain, rare circumstances, one parent may be able to convince the courts that sharing custody would not be what is best for the kids.
What situations may give rise to sole custody?
Perhaps the most common reason one parent receives sole custody is that their ex doesn’t ask for parenting rights or informs the court that they intend to move too far for shared custody to be realistic. It is not easy for one parent to ask for sole custody if their ex also wants to assert their parental rights.
The parent requesting sole custody will have to overcome the presumption that shared parenting responsibilities will be best for the kids. Your situation will need to be one where it is clear that your ex’s behavior is dangerous or damaging for the children.
Arrest reports or medical records that show that your children have been the victims of physical abuse by your ex could lead to sole custody. So could police or medical records that support a claim that your ex has a serious addiction issue. A history of neglect, mental health issues, physical limitations and unstable living circumstances might also convince the court that the kids would be in a better situation if you had sole custody.
Evidence is often crucial to contested custody scenarios
Even if your ex has mistreated you and your children, they may deny that fact in court. It can be hard for the court to enter an appropriate ruling when it is just one parent’s word against the others. The more documentation you have to support your claims, the better your chances of securing sole custody.
Adequate preparation can help you succeed in a contested custody scenario.