Sole Child Custody

Sole custody grants one parent exclusive and autonomous authority to make all the decisions pertaining to his or her child’s life. This parent has both legal and physical custody of the child and is fully and solely responsible for the child’s well-being, and day-to-day care. Where we may distinguish between having certain type of legal custody and certaintype physical custody, having “sole” custody typically eludes to having both sole legal and sole physical custody.

When Is Sole Custody Granted?

Because this parent has complete legal and physical custody of the child, the parent is responsible for making all major and minor decisions;

  • Physical, psychological and emotional health
  • Education and schooling
  • Religious choices
  • When and if, the other parent can see the child

Sole legal custody is generally not granted without serious consideration by the judge. Sole custody is only granted in the most serious of situations likes repeated acts of domestic violence, child abduction, a parent poses a danger to the child, a parent is absent, a parent is incommunicative or a parent is incarcerated.

Pros of Sole Legal Custody

  • One parent has the authority and independence to make decisions
  • Does not have to confer with other parent
  • One parent does not have to compromise with other parent
  • One parent may be especially suited to raising the child or children and not need the assistance or presence of another parent

Cons of Sole Legal Custody

  • One parent has to make all the decisions; this is a serious responsibility
  • One parent may have limited time to take care of the child due to work or other scheduling matters
  • One parent may be financially responsible for all the expenses of the child if the other parent is absent; this may be a serious burden depending on their income

How Long is Sole Legal Custody Granted?

Generally, the parent will have sole legal and physical custody until the child reaches the age of 18, or until the other parent files a motion asking the court to modify the current order. Some child custody judges will award sole custody with periodic status checks to see about reinstating visitation with the other parent. You mostly see this when the parent’s reason for losing custody is temporary. Like drugs, or financial hardship.

How Does Joint Custody Differ from Sole Custody?

When both parents are granted joint physical and joint legal custody, they are both equally responsible for making the important life decisions of the child and share equal time with the child.

Joint custody presumes that the parents can communicate amicably and cooperatively formulate constructive and positive life decisions that are in the best interests of the child. If the parties cannot agree on important life decisions, they may have to resort to the court to make decisions for them. In comparison, when one parent has sole custody, he or she can make all the decisions immediately without having to consult with the other parent.

Joint custody is presumed to be in the best interests of the child because the child will be able to develop long term, supportive, loving relationships with both parents. With sole custody, the child effectively has one parent.

What is Physical Custody?

Physical custody pertains to where the child resides and how much time they will reside with each parent. “Physical custody” means the physical care and supervision of a child; NRS 125A.145. Three types of physical custody exist in Nevada custody laws

  • Sole physical custody : the child resides permanently and exclusively at one parent’s home 100% of the time, to the exclusion of the other parent.
  • Primary physical custody : the child will reside with each parent at least 40% of the time.
  • Joint physical custody : the child will reside with each parent at least 40% of the time.

In the majority of cases, both parents are granted joint legal custody and joint physical custody.

Factors the Court Considers When Granting Sole Custody?

The sole consideration of the court in custody matters is always the best interest of the child. The factors the court looks at for Sole Custody are the same when looking at Primary Physical Custody. Court considerations include, but are not limited to the following points, as stated in NRS 125.480:

(a)The wishes of the child if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent preference as to his or her custody.
(b)Which parent is more likely to allow the child to have frequent associations and a continuing relationship with the noncustodial parent.
(c)The level of conflict between the parents.
(d)The ability of the parents to cooperate to meet the needs of the child.
(e)The mental and physical health of the parents.
(f)The physical, developmental and emotional needs of the child.
(g)The nature of the relationship of the child with each parent.
(h)The ability of the child to maintain a relationship with any sibling.
(i)Any history of parental abuse or neglect of the child or a sibling of the child.