There are some situations where seeking sole custody is not just possible — it is necessary. If you are divorcing a spouse who has been abusive or neglectful to the children, or who has a drug or alcohol addiction that causes them to behave unsafely when they are with the kids, you have to do everything within your power to make sure that the court awards sole custody to you.
In the most egregious cases of neglect, abuse or addiction, the other parent may only be awarded supervised visitation with the kids. But the truth is that those cases are few and far between. Tennessee family law courts take the view that children thrive best when they have unfettered access to both of their parents.
Judges usually award joint custody to both parents even when the kids live with one parent more than half of the time. They usually give both parents authority over the major decisions that must be made in children's lives, like determining:
- The children's religion
- The schools they attend
- The sports they play
- The medical care they receive
The one thing that family law courts do not like to see is parents who use their kids as pawns to extract revenge on their exes. If a judge suspects that one parent is attempting to limit the other parent's time with the children as a way of making that parent pay for getting divorced, it could backfire spectacularly.
We never paint unrealistic pictures to our clients about their custody situations. Instead, we help them draft reasonable and workable custody arrangements that can be put into place with the least amount of trauma to the minor children.