In a perfect world, you and your spouse would cultivate a civil co-parenting relationship after your divorce. But joint custody works best in most cases, not all. You may be seeking a divorce due to your spouse’s conduct. And you may want to pursue sole custody if you worry it will influence your children.

Understanding sole custody

Ohio’s custody laws will help you focus on creating a parenting arrangement that reflects the best interests of your children. Often, joint custody – called shared parenting in Ohio – gives children stability that sole custody does not provide. Yet, your spouse’s behavior may create further instability in their lives. If it does, you might want to petition for sole physical and legal custody. This arrangement would allow you to make all decisions about your children’s well-being. And it would make your home their primary place of residence. Keep in mind, though, that your spouse will likely retain visitation rights if you receive sole custody, except in exceptional circumstances.

Factors in custody decisions

While you may find your spouse’s conduct concerning, it is up to a judge to decide whether you will receive sole custody or not. Providing evidence of your spouse’s conduct can help you make your case. But when ruling on custody, a judge will also consider:

  • You and your spouse’s mental and physical health
  • You and your spouse’s ability to cooperate with each other and make decisions together
  • You and your spouse’s ability to help your children foster a relationship with the other parent
  • Whether you or your spouse have a history of or potential for domestic violence
  • Whether you or your spouse have a history of or potential for substance abuse
  • Whether you or your spouse have a history of parental neglect

During your divorce, you will want to do everything in your power to protect your children. If you believe sole custody is in their best interest, you must take the necessary steps to fight for it.