When couples with children split, the fight for sole custody often ensues, but this path isn't always the right one. Any loving parent should have unrestricted access to their children, but it's important to understand that a parent can maintain a healthy relationship with their child without sole custody. In some instances, a sole custody battle is unnecessary and not worth the fight.
Joint Custody Is Less of a Fight
Whether it's a divorce or separation, ending a relationship when children are involved is an intense emotional struggle. Add a complex legal battle on top of the situation, like a sole custody agreement, and the struggles are heightened.
Sole custody agreements can take a long time to complete because the person seeking the arrangement is almost always guaranteed to encounter some pushback from the other parent. The more the pushback, the longer it will take to settle the case and the more expensive the process will become.
Joint agreements don't typically come with the same amount of resistance, as each parent feels like they are being treated fairly and not being pushed out. Keep in mind that if your child is old enough, he or she will also have a say in the sole custody agreement, which can further delay the legal process and the stress on your children.
The Situation Can Backfire
Not every person that petitions the court for sole custody walks away successfully. Some people walk away with joint custody, and in some instances, parents walk away with even less. Whenever you take a custody agreement to court, you give a judge a great deal of discretion.
Based on the law and the situation, the judge will ultimately decide what is the best option for the child. If a parent petitions the court for sole custody, and a judge does not feel like they are deserving, he or she can use their authority of the law to determine what is best, even if that includes temporarily or permanently stripping some of the rights away from the petitioning parent.
If you and your ex can sit down and talk and come up with your own agreement, it's a much easier scenario, as an attorney can help finalize the agreement and certify it as legal.
Every person's situation is different. It's always best to speak with a family law attorney to discuss your specific situation and to determine if a sole custody battle is necessary.