Should You Fight for Sole Custody?

By Daniel H Moss, Attorney

Before you fight for sole custody of your children in divorce, make sure it’s what’s best for the kids. While in certain circumstances, this might be what is best for the children, in many cases, the desire to gain sole custody is based on the emotional impact of a failed marriage and negative feelings involving your spouse.

Attorneys are hired to uphold the best interests of their clients. The information attorneys are provided about a spouse or home life is mostly one sided. It is the attorney’s job to present the information necessary to achieve the client’s desired outcome. This does not always mean that it is what is best for the children involved.

Once a case gets to court, the judge must make a decision based on the limited information provided about the parties involved and the family’s home life. In court, the whole picture is often difficult to fully express and difficult for a judge to fully comprehend. A judge must react to the evidence submitted in court and make a determination based solely on the facts that are legally admissible in court. As a result, the evidence may not include ALL of the facts of the marriage or home life of the family in question. Keep in mind that judges see and rule on many divorce and custody cases and while each situation and family is unique, there may not be ample opportunity for the judge to get the full picture before having to make a determination.

In most cases, a custody battle is not what is best for the children. So how can you be sure you are acting in the best interests of your children?

It is important that you try to put yourself in your children’s’ shoes. What will the emotional impact be to them if they are separated from one of their parents? Are you ready to bear the financial burden and stress of a custody battle? What would happen if you do not win the case? Is your decision based on your relationship with your spouse or based on the children’s relationship with them?

The emotional reaction to divorce and the situations that may have led to this decision may cause you to have anger and resentment towards your spouse. This is normal. Separating your anger and resentment from what’s best for your children is, however, imperative. You are divorcing your spouse, your children are not.

In some situations, sole custody is in the best interests of the children. If physical or mental abuse or substance use is involved, sole custody might be the only way to protect your children. Fighting for custody in these cases is a means to providing your children with a safe environment.

In many cases, however, resolving custody and parenting issues out of court is the best course for all involved. Obtaining the assistance of a psychologist and/or a mediator can help you and your spouse come up with a co-parenting plan that will truly serve the best interests of your children.

If you have questions or are looking for advice about your specific situation, please contact me directly at 248.855.5656 or [email protected].