Do I have to agree to joint custody?

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2021 | Child Custody |

When you divorce, you will need to come up with custody arrangements for your children. Many people understand that it’s better if they have both parents in their lives, but that isn’t always what’s in their best interests. For example, if there is a history of abuse or neglect, then it may be better if the children live with a parent who is more capable of caring for them adequately. 

There are times when it’s reasonable and unreasonable to ask for joint custody. You don’t necessarily have to agree to joint custody in situations where the other parent isn’t fit to share that much parenting time. 

When might you argue against joint custody?

You may argue against joint custody if:

  • The other parent lives more than a short drive away and a joint custody schedule would make custody exchanges difficult to set up regularly.
  • Your older children have stated that they don’t want to live with the other parent or have other preferences.
  • You are available to care for your children more often, while the other parent has a variable schedule.
  • There is a history of violence in your relationship.

These and other reasons may be why one parent wants to ask for sole or primary custody.

What happens if you ask for sole custody?

If you ask for sole custody, it’s very important that you have strong evidence for any claims you make and that you are prepared to face additional scrutiny from the judge. If you cannot make a strong case, then asking for sole custody may come off vindictive or as if you aren’t considering what’s best for your children, so it’s important to tread lightly.