Sole custody is the most drastic form of child custody and the court will try to avoid such custody unless completely necessary. If a parent is given the status of “custodial parent,” that is, they take care of the basic everyday needs of the child, they are said to have sole custody. This parent has the legal right to make all the decisions that affect the child. Such decisions include those over education, health, etc. In such a situation the sole custody parent has no legal obligation to consult with the other parent. They do not need to inform the other parent concerning events in the child’s life and do not need to consult with the other parent in making decisions. The other parent has no legal right or power to influence how the child is raised.
Because such a situation is quite drastic the court will often order regular contact with the non-custodial parent. This means the parent may be given the right, as some see it, or be forced, as others see it, to visit the child on a regular basis. Other times no visitation is allowed, but regular phone calls are arranged. The court determines what is in the best interests of the child and this almost always includes some contact from the non-custodial parent. It may be that none of the parties is happy with this arrangement. The court doesn’t care. It looks to see what will help the child the most. If a parent is particularly irresponsible or shows erratic behavior, sole custody becomes increasingly likely.
There is no set rubric for the court to decide if sole custody is appropriate. It is often a matter for the court to gage based on many factors. To see such factors consider those listed under the Father’s Rights section here or Mother’s Rights section here. Also consider the factors listed in the psychological analysis section here.
For more information check out Types and Classes of Custody.
Image by: Alex Proimos