Sole Custody: Pros and Cons

October 18th, 2022

When speaking about sole custody and joint custody, it’s important to distinguish if it’s legal custody or physical that you are referring to. Legal custody is the right of a parent to make legal decisions for their child. For example, medical or educational decisions. Physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with. In many cases, joint custody is both physical and legal with both parents sharing the decision-making and caregiving. However, sometimes sole custody is more appropriate. In some situations, it can be best for the children for safety reasons. Another reason why a parent might seek sole custody is so that they can make decisions without another person having to weigh in. However, it can also be difficult to have the brunt of decisions fall on one person. And finally, it can also be worse for children to not get the chance to interact as much with both parents. When deciding custody situations, a judge always makes their decision based on what is in the best interest of the child.

Pro: Can Be Safest in Some Situations

One positive of sole custody in some situations is if one parent doesn’t feel like the children are safe in the care of their other parent. For example, if there are addiction issues, mental health issues, or a history of violence. If one parent suspects that the other will not make sound decisions or be able to physically care for the kids, they might seek sole custody for their child’s safety.

Pro: Decision Making

In addition, another positive of sole custody for some parents is that they do not have to share in the decision-making. They get to dictate how their child is raised, without having to take input from others. They can choose which school their child goes to, which religion they’ll be raised in, and make medical decisions without needing to consult the other parent.

Con: Decision Making

However, in many situations, this decision making power can actually be a negative of sole custody. It can be overwhelming to be the sole person responsible for making every decision in a child’s life. Often, parents appreciate being able to bounce ideas off one another. If you have sole legal custody, everything is down to you. If you have sole physical custody, there are no breaks, either.

Con: Less Time with Other Parent

Finally, one obvious con of sole custody is that the child will only get to grow up with one parent. Children thrive from having the input of both their parents. Unless your co-parent is neglectful or abusive, it can be worse for children to be separated from them permanently. It can also be very harmful for the parent that loses custody.

Sole custody has its pros and cons, just like any custody situation. It’s important to decide what is the best fit for your family. If you are in a custody battle with your ex, a judge will make a decision on custody based on what is in the best interest of the child. In this way, sole custody can be a positive if you have an ex that you consider an unfit parent. With sole custody you also will have all of your children’s legal decisions on your plate. This can be both positive because you don’t have to discuss with anybody else, and negative because it can feel overwhelming. In addition, as long as your ex is a fit parent, children tend to thrive more with both parents sharing custody. Hopefully, no matter which custody situation you land on, your children will adjust to the change quickly.