Divorcing parents in North Carolina will often disagree about custody matters. Thankfully, state law helps to preempt many arguments by establishing clear rules. In the absence of a court-approved custody order, there is a presumption of equally-shared parental rights and responsibilities.
The parents can negotiate a different parenting plan with one another. They can also go to court and ask a judge to create a custody order for their family that divides parenting time and parental responsibility. Both parents typically have a strong claim to continued involvement in the lives of the children, but many parents don’t relish the idea of frequent interactions with their ex following a divorce.
Can you ask for sole custody so that you don’t have to endure the complication of sharing parenting time with your ex?
Sole custody arrangements are uncommon
Sometimes, one parent will realize that they need to move out of the state to pursue their career or that their lifestyle will prevent them from being a supportive parent. In these unusual situations, one parent may voluntarily agree to give the other sole custody provided that they have regular visitation rights.
However, in the more common scenario where both parents want to spend time with the children, sole custody outcomes are less likely. If both you and your ex want custody, your only hope of succeeding when asking for sole custody requires that you convince the court that limiting your ex’s parenting time is necessary for the well-being of the children.
Rare situations can justify sole custody requests
Although they are not common, there are absolutely family situations that justify one parent requesting sole custody at the expense of the other’s time with the children.
When there is verifiable evidence showing that the parent has engaged in abusive conduct toward the children or exposed them to violence by abusing the other parent in front of them, the courts may take such accusations quite seriously. However, unsubstantiated claims of abuse may have very little impact on how the courts rule in a custody case.
Documentation showing issues with addiction, health issues that would prevent someone from parenting independently or severe personal instability help one parent secure sole custody, at least temporarily, after a divorce. Understanding the rare situations where sole custody is an option can help you set achievable goals for custody proceedings in your upcoming divorce.