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Should you fight for full custody?

These days, joint physical custody of the children is generally preferred by both parents and the courts. After all, it's usually better for kids to have both their parents involved in their lives as much as possible.

But "usually" isn't "always." There are times when, as difficult as it may be, it's appropriate to ask the court to sharply limit the other parent's custody and visitation rights. Here are some of the most common situations that cause divorcing parents to seek full custody of the kids:

  • The other parent is an addict or alcoholic. Substance abuse and addiction can interfere with a person's thought processes and behavior in extreme ways and make them unable to be a safe, protective parent to their children.
  • There have been incidents of abuse. If your spouse has been physically abusive in any way to you or your children, you need to take steps to protect your children from additional harm.
  • There's a question of neglect. If your spouse's inability to supervise your children has led to danger or actual harm or your spouse lacks the means the provide the kids with the basic necessities, that's an issue that has to be addressed.
  • The other parent abandoned the kids or is incarcerated. If your spouse disappeared or is incarcerated, that's certainly justification for solo custody.
  • The other parent is mentally ill. You have a right to protect your children from a parent whose mental illness makes them unstable or irrational -- especially in cases where a parent has exhibited suicidal behavior.

If you believe that your child's well-being is at stake, it's time to discuss your legal options. An experienced advocate can help you decide how to proceed.

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