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Examining the concept of sole custody

In recent years, there's been a trend toward divorced parents sharing custody of their children so that they can both stay involved in their lives. However, sometimes joint custody is not possible or in the children's best interests -- such as when a parent has a substance abuse issue or a history of child abuse or other types of domestic violence. In most cases, the non-custodial parent still gets some type of visitation rights, although it may need to be supervised.

There are two different types of sole custody – physical and legal. A parent can have one or both.

Sole physical custody is what people most commonly think of when they hear the word "custody." If a parent has physical custody, the child lives with him or her.

When a parent has sole legal custody, it means that he or she has the legal authority to make major decisions about things affecting the child's well-being. This includes issues like medical care, education and religion.

If a parent has sole custody, whether physical and/or legal, that doesn't mean that he or she has the right to move away with the child. Relocation would need be approved by a court if it impacts the other parent's visitation rights.

If you wish to seek sole custody, whether during the divorce process or later on down the line, it's important to demonstrate why that type of custody is in your child's best interests. If your child's other parent is seeking sole custody, you can fight for your right to share in your child's upbringing. Whatever the situation, your Texas family law attorney can be a valuable resource.

Source: FindLaw, "Sole Custody," accessed May 20, 2016

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