Every family is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to child custody after divorce. If you are facing the prospect of ending your marriage, you understand this will affect your children in multiple ways. You want to choose a custody arrangement that is in their best interests, and this depends on the details of your individual situation. No one knows your children and their needs like you do.
Recently, there has been a push to opt for joint custody arrangements. There is evidence that children benefit when allowed to maintain strong relationships with both parents after a divorce. Joint custody allows this to happen with parents typically sharing equitable, though not necessarily equal, parenting time. However, this may not work for your unique situation. Joint custody is not ideal for every Minnesota family.
How does joint custody work?
Joint custody addresses both legal and physical custody. Physical custody refers to the amount of time a child has with one parent, including vacations and holidays. Legal custody refers to the right a parent has to make important decisions for the child, such as those pertaining to religion and education. In a true joint custody arrangement, parents may share both types of custody. However, it is possible for one parent to retain sole legal custody while sharing physical custody or vice versa.
The option for sole custody
For your family, it may impossible or unwise to try and make a joint custody arrangement work. In this situation, you may pursue sole custody. This would give you primary legal and physical custody, even though the other parent may have visitation. The court may grant this outcome in situations involving addiction, abandonment, neglect or abuse. The court will look carefully at the situation before granting sole custody.
It may be helpful to remember that you cannot pursue sole custody simply because you do not like the other parent or are dealing with your own emotions from the divorce. It is not beneficial when a parent allows his or her temporary feelings to lead to unwise decisions that could negatively affect the kids.
Considering the future
If you are facing divorce, you may find it beneficial to consider the long-term implications of any decisions you make. When it comes to child custody, you may consider what is best for your kids, whether it is agreeing to joint custody or fighting in court for sole legal and physical custody.