Family Law: Circumstances When the Courts May Award You Sole Custody of Your Child

Posted on: 24 February 2017

If you want sole or full custody of your child following a divorce or separation, then you should be aware that the only thing the courts will prioritise throughout the case is the child's best interests, not yours. Is it in the child's best interest to be under you care or the care of the other parent? That's the all-important question that will ultimately influence the court's decision. 

To be awarded full custody of a child is not easy because the courts usually want both biological parents to have a say in the decisions made regarding a child's welfare and play a part in the child's life. But, there are always some situations when it is better to give one parent sole custody rights of the child.

Here are some situations that may make the judge decide that the other parent is unfit and give you full custody over the child.

If the other parent has a history of violent behaviour.

Each child deserves to be protected from domestic violence. If the other parent has a history of perpetuating violence within the home, they pose a danger to the physical safety of the child and lose favour in the eyes of the judge.

If the other parent is negligent.

Children have so many needs including food, shelter, clothing, parental attention, quality education, and any other thing that they may need to grow healthy, self-reliant and emotionally stable. If the other parent has at some point neglected the needs of the child, it is likely that they will do it again. The courts will likely not rule in their favour.

If the other parent has serious money problems.

If the other parent has shown time and time again that they are unable to get their financial act together, perhaps due to drug and substance abuse or gambling addiction, then they will likely not be able to cater to the physical needs of the child. This can render them unfit as custodial parents.

If the other parent is absent.

If the other parent is unable to play an active role in the child's life, either because they do not want to, are mentally-incapacitated or have been incarcerated, then the judge may likely consider granting full custody to the remaining parent. 

Whenever possible, it is best to consider having joint custody of your child. You might no longer see eye to eye on many things with your former spouse, but you should at least admit that the child still needs both parents in his/her life.