Few personal matters are as emotional as custody arrangements for children following a divorce. It can take very stressful custody litigation or weeks of negotiations to arrange shared custody in a way that works for your family.
The idea of sharing parenting time and decision-making authority is unsavory to many parents involved in custody disputes. However, most Virginia custody matters end with the parents sharing responsibilities and rights. For a judge to grant one parent sole custody, they need to agree with that parent’s claim that shared custody would put their children at risk. In other words, they need to agree that sole custody is in the best interests of the children.
What are some of the situations that justify sole custody requests in Virginia court?
Family issues with domestic violence
Has your ex had a problem providing appropriate discipline when they are emotional? Do they become verbally or physically abusive toward your children when they are angry?
Misconduct toward the children that you can prove to the courts is a viable reason to seek sole custody. If you can show that your children witnessed your former partner abuse you, that behavior could also be dangerous enough to warrant sole custody.
A serious problem with substance abuse
Does your ex pop pain pills like breath mints or stop off for multiple beers every night after work? Does their drug use or alcohol consumption impact their ability to be present for the children and to support them?
Financial, medical and police records affirming that your ex has an issue with substance abuse could help you convince the courts to limit their time with the children or grant you sole custody until they address the issue.
Sometimes, your ex is so protective of their relationship with the children that they begrudge you communication with the kids or access to them.
If your ex has denied you parenting time, canceled your visitation without rescheduling or started bad-mouthing you to the children, those forms of misconduct show that your ex does not act in the best interests of your children. Judges may limit their time with the kids or other parental rights because of their interference in your relationship with the children.
Evaluating whether your circumstances meet the standard for sole custody requests in Virginia can help you plan the best strategy for your upcoming custody case.