Sole custody in a divorce is a unique child custody arrangement where only parent is awarded the physical as well as legal custody of the child. Sometimes the sole custody may be granted to a legal guardian (such as grandparents) if both parents are unfit to provide care to the child. The parent with sole custodial rights can unilaterally make long-term as well as everyday decisions on the child’s behalf.
The family law courts in Orange County will grant sole custody to a parent or legal guardian only in exceptional circumstances, such as:
The courts in California cannot use religion, race, gender or disability as factors in determining sole custody.
It is important to distinguish between sole physical custody and sole legal custody. In many cases, a parent may be awarded sole physical custody, but not sole legal custody of the child.
Even if you have been granted the child’s sole custody in Orange County, it does not automatically give you the right to relocate without permission from the court. If the court has granted visitation rights to the non-custodial parent, your relocation may interfere with those rights. Therefore, if you wish to relocate in this situation, you will have to convince the court that the relocation in the best interest of your child.
When you are going through a heartbreaking divorce, the idea of sole physical and legal custody may appeal to you because you don’t want to have anything to do with your former spouse. However, sole custody, and in particular sole legal custody, is not an arrangement to satisfy your interests but to protect the best interests of your child.
If the other party is a responsible parent, and the only issue is that you both find it hard to collaborate or hold opposing views on child upbringing, the court may not grant sole legal custody to you. Sole legal custody is only a provision for exceptional situations where one parent is incapable, unfit, unavailable, or unwilling to make reasonable decisions for the child’s welfare.
Your child custody lawyer in Orange County may advise you to pursue a case for sole legal custody when:
A dedicated and compassionate child custody lawyer will help you consider what is best for your child so that you can formulate your legal strategy for custody based on that. If healthy and active co-parenting is possible, and the other party is willing to be a responsible, collaborative parent, perhaps your child deserves the involvement of that parent as well in his or her life.
Whether you want to pursue sole physical custody, sole legal custody or another custody arrangement, you need a child custody lawyer in Orange County whom you can trust for the right advice. Your attorney should be prepared to pursue your legal goals in an objective and determined manner, and help you achieve the most effective custody arrangement for your needs. If needed at any stage, your lawyer will also effectively represent you for custody modification order as necessary.
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