When a Texas married couple with children decide to divorce, they must resolve numerous issues before they can achieve a fair settlement. A top priority, of course, is always child custody. Physical custody refers to where children will live after their parents finalize a divorce while legal custody pertains to authority to make decisions regarding education, health and other issues on behalf of children. In some cases, a concerned parent will seek sole child custody, meaning that he or she is the only parent who has both physical and legal custody of his or her kids.
A parent seeking sole custody must have a legitimate reason
It is not uncommon for the relationship between spouses who have filed for divorce to be contentious, especially if marital problems included infidelity; however, feeling betrayed or being angry at one’s ex is not a legitimate reason to request sole child custody in court. The following list shows issues that a family court judge might consider as just cause for seeking sole custody of children in a divorce:
- The other parent is addicted to drugs or alcohol.
- There was domestic violence in the home during the marriage.
- The other parent is mentally ill.
- The parent seeking custody can show evidence of neglect by the other parent.
- The children’s other parent abandoned the family.
- The children’s other parent is in jail.
- The other parent is relocating out of the state or country.
It is not enough to file a petition requesting sole child custody based on one or more of these issues. The parent making the request must provide evidence to substantiate his or her claim.
The court must be convinced that sole child custody is best
When making decisions regarding child custody in a Texas divorce, a family court judge always has the children’s best interests in mind. Even if a parent requests sole physical and legal custody, the court must be convinced that such a decision would be best for the children in question.
In many cases, especially regarding allegations of domestic violence or substance abuse, the court may order an investigation before handing down a ruling. Sole child custody may be granted on a temporary or permanent basis.