No announcement yet.

The Myth of Sole Custody

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Myth of Sole Custody

    There is so much misinformation people have about divorce, child custody, and child support, it’s difficult to even find a starting point. What one sees in the movies involving court cases and judges is just so outdated, if it ever existed beyond Hollywood in the first place. But, what I’m going to concentrate on here is the myth of “sole custody.”

    While you will still find questions online relating to this phrase, it no longer exists in the way it once did. Instead, you will find terminology such as “primary parental responsibility” in one state; or “legal custody,” which can be “sole” or “shared,” and “physical custody” which can be “primary,” “shared,” or “partial” in others.

    At the time of divorce, this will all be determined by the couple (if they can agree) or by a mediator if they can’t, and it will ultimately be approved by a judge. However, this decision is NOT written in stone. Let me repeat that because it is very important: custody determinations at the time of divorce can be contested at any time following. For instance, if you had the time, money, and inclination, you could take your ex to court every year to alter your agreement. Child support can also be modified after the divorce based on a change of circumstances, but that’s a whole nother topic.

    My point in bringing this up is that a lot of people have what I would call an “old” divorce. Meaning that they got divorced over ten years ago and have not kept up with the changes in divorce law. No one is grandfathered in to an old custody agreement. You can go back at any time to change it. Unlike any financial settlement you agreed upon (excluding child support) child custody is not over till the wide lady sings, which varies by state as I wrote about on a different thread.

    Relocation- yet another topic that would have to be addressed on its own- and many other child custody issues center around this phrase: “the best interest of the child.” That is the main thing you have to remember that will be brought up over and over again. For example, do you want to move with your child to another state that would take them away from their other parent? Well, you must be able to prove how that is going to be in “the best interest of the child.”

    If you’ve got a good reason to change a custody arrangement you aren’t happy with, start by talking to the other parent. If they’re willing to cooperate, it’s best for everyone not to waste money on decisions that should be family ones anyway. If that doesn’t work, find a cheap lawyer and get the ball rolling. Make use of firms that offer free consultations to figure out just who you want representing you.

    Your ex will receive a notification to appear at “court” (remember, this is just a mediation room, no one is on trial for murder here) where a new agreement will be made by you, if you can agree, or by the mediator if you can’t. One of the reasons you want to keep things out of court, if you can, is that if you don’t come to an agreement in mediation, the mediator (a third party who knows relatively nothing about you) will make the decision on your behalf. This may or may not work in your favor.

    Sometimes you divorced men feel as if things are hopeless because you were handed a bad deal in the divorce. But I want to encourage you not to give up. Things are subject to change, and you do have rights. As I have written in previous posts, bear in mind, that no page on the internet should substitute for the professional advice of a lawyer from your state who specializes in family law, but I hope what I have written gives you some belief that there is always the opportunity to make things better. Know the laws and don’t break them; know your rights and enforce them.