When you decided to become a parent, you pledged to always put your child’s best interests first. After all, few things are more rewarding than watching a child grow into a well-adjusted, productive and decent adult. Following a divorce, joint custody gives both parents the ability to share parenting responsibilities. Often, this approach encourages children to thrive in a post-divorce world.
While you may want to work collaboratively with your soon-to-be ex-spouse to dissolve your marriage, you may not think joint custody is a healthy strategy for your children. Here are seven times when pursuing sole custody usually makes sense:
1. A history of abuse
When you think about your children in an unsafe space, your blood boils. If your spouse has a history of abusing your kids, joint custody likely is not feasible.
2. A record of neglect
Children are not capable of caring for themselves. If your spouse does not have the skills to provide a basic level of care for your young ones, you probably want to seek sole custody.
3. Impending incarceration
Obviously, your spouse cannot parent your children effectively from behind bars. If your partner is facing jail time, you may want to fight for sole custody.
4. Drug or alcohol addiction
Drugs and alcohol often affect the way individuals perceive the world. If your spouse has substance abuse issues, sole custody may be the best way to keep your children safe.
5. An imminent move
The most effective way to share life lessons with your children is to spend face-to-face time with them. If your partner plans to move far away, you may never see your kids. Thus, you may choose to ask a judge for sole custody to keep your children closer to you.
6. Mental disorders
Mental illness can be tremendously heartbreaking. While you may not want to judge your spouse for mental struggles, you may also not want to expose your children to those struggles. Pursuing sole custody may give your children a shot at normalcy, while freeing your spouse to seek mental health treatment.
7. Potential abandonment
Finally, your spouse may not want to have custody of your children. If your soon-to-be-ex indicates plans for eventual abandonment, you probably do not want to negotiate a joint custody agreement.
Choosing to pursue sole custody is a deeply personal decision only you can make. Nonetheless, if you find yourself in certain situations, rejecting joint custody may offer your children the best opportunity to have a healthy and happy childhood.