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Sole custody doesn't have to be all or nothing

Deciding on custody arrangements for kids is one of the central-most difficult aspects within a divorce, as many Louisiana parents may know. When one spouse does not think the other is a fit parent, or has anything to offer the children, they will fight tooth-and-nail for sole child custody. Other times, parents will go into the proceedings demanding that joint custody be granted. However, one family court judge that sees these types of scenarios play out in court all the time cautions parents to seek knowledge on what these arrangements exactly entail to avoid confusion and heartache moving forward.

In a sole custody arrangement, the custodial parent has the upper hand and enjoys privileges that are not shared by the non-custodial parent. For instance, the custodial parent might have an easier time asking a court for permission to move out of the jurisdiction. The custodial parent will also be put in charge of making important decisions for their children, including medical care, education and even religious affiliations without having to consult the other parent.

Generally speaking, sole custody is usually granted when a court determines that one parent is defective in some way. This could mean the parent is combative, has a mental disorder, has a dependency on drugs or alcohol or some other destructive scenario. Parents that vie for sole custody usually use these types of claims as the crux of their argument.

Child custody arrangements don't have to be totally cut-and-dry. Parents can mend an agreement that deviates from the traditional perimeters associated with sole custody. In some of these types of arrangements, the non-custodial parent sometimes has more of an opportunity to parent their children than do parents who have a joint custody arrangement. A divorce attorney experienced in family mediation can be beneficial when negotiating non-traditional custody agreements.

As research highlights, the benefits of having both parents involved in the child rearing process has more and more judges doing away with the notion that parents with sole custody should also spend majority of the time parenting the child.

Source: The Huffington Post, "How to divorce: How can I get full custody of the kids?" Michele F. Lowrance, May 1, 2012

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