The dissolution of a marriage can understandably be overwhelming both financially and emotionally. This is often the case for many couples getting divorced, but it can be especially true for parents who are going through a divorce.
If you and your spouse are headed to divorce court and have young children, one of your biggest concerns may be child custody. Here is a look at what you need to know about child custody -- specifically sole custody -- in Arizona.
What exactly is sole custody?
Two types of child custody exist -- joint and sole child custody. If a judge gives you sole custody of your children, this means you have exclusive legal and physical custody rights with regard to your children. This type of custody arrangement is rare and is typically limited to scenarios where one parent is not fit to assume responsibility of a child. For instance, maybe the parent has a drug addiction or a history of child abuse.
Sole physical versus sole legal custody
There are two important sides to sole custody -- physical custody and legal custody. With physical custody, your children will reside with you alone. Meanwhile, with legal custody, you have the right to make key decisions concerning your child's welfare. These decisions may involve your children's school-related matters, religious and moral development, emotional development, and medical care.
What happens to the other parent if you receive sole custody?
If you end up with sole custody of the children, your ex-spouse -- called the non-custodial parent -- will have neither legal nor physical child custody rights. However, he or she may have the right to enjoy visitation periods with your children. Still, these visits might be supervised, particularly if the other parent is known to engage in child abuse or domestic violence.
Why sole custody?
A major benefit of this type of custody arrangement is that you do not have to consult your ex-spouse before making important decisions concerning your children's lives. This is particularly valuable if the other parent is not mature enough to handle such a responsibility.
Navigating the issue of child custody can be confusing, as it can be one of the most complex aspects of a divorce proceeding. However, an applied understanding of the law may help with attaining a child custody case outcome that is pleasing to you while also ultimately being in your children's best interests.