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Can you get sole custody of your children when you divorce?

There are many things that can lead to a painful divorce. You and your spouse could be parting ways because of infidelity, mistreatment or your inability to agree on how to raise your children. In some cases, divorcing couples can reach agreements about how to proceed with everything they need to decide as they dissolve their marriage. However, many situations remain extremely difficult to navigate.

No matter how strained the relationship between you and your spouse may be, you probably know they love and want the best for your children. However, you may still feel as though you should fight for sole custody. But if the two of you cannot agree on how to arrange a custody and visitation schedule, a court will likely intervene based on what they believe is in the best interest of the children. But do you know what they take into consideration?

How does a court determine the best interests of your children?

There are many factors that a court may consider when ruling on what they believe to be the best interests of your children. Depending on the ages of your children, they may have some preference in custody matters.

However, a court typically considers other factors as well, which include:

  • Parental ability to be actively involved in the children’s lives
  • The children’s developmental needs
  • Children’s potential to adjust to a new house, community and school environment
  • Physical and mental health of the parents
  • Past experiences of neglect or abuse

Although you might feel justified in fighting to keep your children to yourself, in many cases the underlying presumption is that children thrive when they maintain relationships with both parents.

Keep your focus on the needs of your children

A court may grant you sole or joint custody. However, no matter their determination, you should remember that even if things do not work out the way you want them to, your most important task as a parent is to do the best you can for your children – regardless of how much time you have together.

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