As a parent, the hardest part of your divorce will likely be resolving your custody case. Even parents who part on amicable terms often have difficulty agreeing on custody matters. Yet, you may be splitting from your spouse due to their conduct, and you fear that their behavior could harm your children. While you may want to seek sole custody of them, it is important to know the reasons you could receive it in New York.
Understanding sole custody
If your spouse’s conduct compels you to seek sole custody of your children, it is important to understand that, in New York, the court will only award it if it is in their best interests. It is also important to understand that there are two different kinds of custody. If the court awards you sole legal custody of your children, you will have the right and responsibility to make decisions about their upbringing without your spouse’s input. And if the court awards you sole physical custody of your children, your home will be their main – or only – residence. You will also be responsible for their day-to-day physical care.
The relationship between sole custody and visitation
Even if you receive sole legal and physical custody of your children in your divorce, you may have concerns about how much time your spouse will spend with them. If the court deems your spouse a fit parent, they will likely receive frequent visitation, which includes overnights. Yet, your spouse’s visitation could come with limitations or supervision if:
- They have committed domestic violence against you
- They have abused, neglected or abandoned your children
- They have abused alcohol or drugs
- They have a serious or untreated mental illness
- They cannot provide your children a safe and stable home
Seeking sole legal and physical custody may make sense if your spouse’s conduct puts your children at risk. To fight for an arrangement that keeps them safe, you will want to seek the help of a family law attorney.