You may have decided to divorce your spouse due to their conduct, which you fear could put your children at risk. Depending on the nature of their behavior, you may feel it is unsafe for your children to be around them for long periods. In this case, you may want to seek sole legal and physical custody of them. While few parents hope for this outcome, it could be an appropriate arrangement for your family given the circumstances at hand.

Understanding when sole custody is appropriate

Even though Minnesota law makes no presumptions about joint custody, many parents opt for – or are awarded – this arrangement. Most children benefit from having both parents play active roles in their lives. Yet, if your spouse’s conduct could harm or endanger your children, the court will consider this when ruling on custody.

If you seek sole custody, some reasons you could receive it include:

  • Your spouse has committed domestic abuse against you or your children
  • Your spouse has a history of alcohol or drug abuse
  • Your spouse has a history of neglecting your children or their basic needs
  • Your spouse has a history of undermining your relationship with your children

How sole custody will work

If your spouse’s conduct makes it appropriate for you to seek sole legal and physical custody, you must understand what these arrangements will entail. Receiving sole legal custody of your children means that you will have the right and responsibility to make all decisions about raising them. Receiving sole physical custody of your children means that your home will be their main residence and you will establish their day-to-day routine. Your spouse, though, will most likely receive visitation. Depending on your reasons for seeking sole custody, their time with your children may come with limits or supervision.

Seeking sole custody is not a decision to make lightly, and you will want to make sure it is the safest arrangement for your children before proceeding. A family law attorney can help you weigh your options for protecting your family.