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If you are granted sole physical custody over your child, that means that your child will primarily reside with you and occasionally visit their other parent. And if you are also granted sole legal custody, you will also have the final say on decisions concerning your child. Understandably so, you may have your reasonings as to why you do not want to share such control with your former spouse. Continue reading to learn the chances of being granted sole custody and how an experienced Bergen County child custody attorney at McNerney & McAuliffe can help you fight for the right settlement.

Under what conditions is sole custody granted in a divorce case?

It is not commonly seen where a New Jersey family court decides to grant one parent sole custody over a child. This is because the court rather holds onto the belief that a child benefits most when both parents are still present in their life post-divorce. Therefore, the court may only lean toward a sole custody decision under extreme circumstances, such as when a child’s well-being is a point of concern due to one parent’s parental unfitness. More specific examples read as follows:

  • One parent has a court record showing criminal convictions.
  • One parent is unable to offer a safe or stable home environment.
  • One parent has a history of child abuse, endangerment, or neglect.
  • One parent has a history of being institutionalized for a mental illness.
  • One parent has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, or other addiction issues.
  • One parent has a history of domestic violence against a former spouse, a child from a previous marriage, or the child in question.

What can I do to fight for sole custody after my divorce has been settled?

It is almost expected to undergo personal changes in your life post-divorce. At the same time, it is natural to endure growing pains in your parenting as you navigate your new life as a single parent. But through it all, your child’s best interest must be continually met.

So say, for instance, that you and your former spouse were granted joint custody over your child. Further, say that your former spouse made life changes for the worst (i.e., habits of parental unfitness) that are subsequently threatening your child’s safety while under their care. Well, in this case, you may file a petition with the New Jersey family court for a post-judgment modification. And if the court agrees that your former spouse is no longer parentally fit, you may achieve sole physical and legal custody over your child.

There is a lot to be considered with filing a post-judgment modification. So please initiate a conversation with a skilled Bergen County family law attorney as soon as possible. Someone at McNerney & McAuliffe is awaiting your phone call.

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