Q: What proof do I need to argue for sole custody of my children temporarily.
My husband abuses alcohol (I would say alcoholic) while taking various prescription meds over the years. History of anger issues, infidelity, abuse. Physically with myself, and around the home. Breaking/throwing things. I have 1 police report of property destruction, but nothing for my physical abuse aside from pictures and a journal of events I kept with dates and details. I also can’t prove the alcoholism aside from photos of the Empty bottles constantly hidden. My children witness the drinking, but they at minors and I prefer to not have them dragged into this, as to preserve their mental health the best I can in this situation. I also have family and friends who have witnessed the drinking and behavior that comes with it.
The difference between "sole custody" and "joint legal custody" is the obligation to discuss "major decisions affecting the children's health, education, and general welfare" - meaning if a doctor suggested that a child have surgery, should you be obligated to let your former partner know about it in advance. In a sole custody setting, you have no obligation to let me know nor participate in any decision-making for the children. I do not know what the language of your divorce judgment or agreement says as to the definition of joint legal custody, but most state that you are obligated to discuss major issues with him. Other agreements say that you and he must discuss and agree on how to handle the issue. So, you need to check the language of your agreement or court order as to what you obligation is - that is your starting point.
If you do want to pursue a formal order for sole custody, it's a high bar and most judges are resistant to grant such relief - generally, its reserved for extraordinary type settings. The best advice is to meet with a family law specialist to review the information you have about your ex to see if he / she believes that it is sufficient.
A: Thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear that you are going through this stressful time. In order to properly answer your question, it is important to understand what you mean when you say “argue for sole custody temporarily”. When addressing custody, there is legal custody and physical custody. Obtaining sole physical custody of your children means your children stay with you full-time and that the other parent has no parenting time with the children. The courts look at what is in the best interest of the children to determine custody. In order to obtain sole physical custody of a child, you would have to show that having your children see the other parent would be harmful to the children in some way or that the children would be in danger or neglected by the other parent. To help you understand your rights and options, I strongly urge you to schedule an attorney consultation.
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