Are there reasons only one parent should have custody?

Posted by Wesley D. WornomJan 20, 20130 Comments

In most cases, both parents share custody after a divorce. There are some reasons a parent might want to seek sole custody for the benefit of the children.

When two people in Virginia get divorced, there are numerous issues that often arise which can get contentious. One of the most potentially volatile divorce disputes involves the custody of the children. Should both parents have equal custody and time with the children, or are there circumstances that would make it more ideal for just one parent to have custody?

Ending a marriage is rarely easy, but the process can become more heartbreaking when children are involved. Parents usually want the best for their children, but emotions often become intense when the subject turns to who should get them. This is particularly true if one parent disagrees with the parenting style of the other, or believes the children would be better off residing only with one parent, rather than dividing their time between two homes. However, divorce is usually difficult for children, states Psychology Today. It is vital to consider what is best for children in custody matters, rather than what the parent wants.

Custody decisions made for the best interests of the children

According to, there are many valid reasons that a parent might want to seek full physical or legal custody. These may include the following:

  • The children being put in danger by an abusive or addicted parent
  • The other parent being mentally or physically unable to care for the children
  • One parent having been neglectful or uncaring toward the children during the marriage
  • Physical distance separating both parents, such as if one moves out of state
  • One parent being absent or unwilling to see or help care for the children

In some cases, the judge may also consider the wishes of the children in regards to custody. If the children only wish live with one parent, the court may listen to their reasons and make a decision based on their best interests.

Parenting after a divorce has its challenges, regardless of whether one or both parents have time with the children. In most cases, it is believed that children benefit from sharing as much time as possible with each parent. However, there may be advantages to having sole custody. Reducing the conflict that may be present when both parents share custody may help children adjust to the divorce more easily. When one parent has sole custody, he or she is able to make important decisions, such as where they go to school who their primary care physician should be, without arguments or interfering from the other parent. Having sole custody does not necessarily eliminate conflict, but it will often make a significant difference. A sole custody arrangement will also not restrict the other parent from seeing the children except in extreme cases when their safety or well-being makes it necessary.

Disputes regarding child custody can be complex and emotional. It is advisable to speak with an experienced family law attorney in Stafford whenever children are involved in a divorce.