When couples who share children break up or divorce, most of the time they wind up co-parenting. Shared custody arrangements are the new norm, as the courts want to help preserve the relationships that the children have with both parents.
The goal in custody proceedings is to act in the best interests of the children. Many parents waste time and energy fighting over custody just to spite one another, only to wind up sharing custody anyway. However, there are some circumstances in which parents may be able to convince the court that shared physical custody won’t be good for the kids. Let’s look at a few of those circumstances.
Unstable living situations
Is your ex is living in a long-term stay motel or couch surfing at the homes of co-workers and friends? Do they lack a vehicle for transportation or the income necessary to provide the basics for your children? If your ex is in a very unstable place in their life, the court may agree with you that joint custody is not currently the best solution.
Abuse or neglect
A parent who can’t keep their temper in check likely won’t manage the stress of parenting alone well. If there are police or medical records that show your spouse has neglected or abused your children in the past or abused you in front of the kids, the court may limit their access to or relationship with the children.
Drug or alcohol abuse
Addiction can have a very negative impact on parenting ability. If your ex compulsively drinks or uses illicit drugs, your children likely won’t be safe alone in their care.
Only in circumstances where you can prove that shared custody is not in the best interest of your children are the courts likely to award you sole custody. Understanding what the judge making custody decisions will consider can help you develop realistic expectations for your divorce.