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Divorce: Seeking sole legal child custody

You may have had an inclination for some time that your marriage was headed for divorce. Then again, you might be one of many Louisiana parents who were completely caught off guard when you were served with divorce papers from your spouse. In either case, it's understandable that your primary concern is to protect the best interests of your children, especially regarding legal child custody issues.

There are several basic types of child custody. Legal custody refers to decision-making authority. If you have sole legal custody of your kids, you are the only one who has authority to make decisions on their behalf. Determining whether seeking sole legal custody is best in your case can be challenging. 

Benefits of seeking sole legal custody in divorce

The following list includes potential benefits of being granted sole legal custody of your children:

  • You know what's best for your kids, and sole legal custody enables you to make decisions based on your interpretation.
  • If you have sole physical custody, you still do not have sole authority to make decisions regarding your children unless you also have sole legal custody, so having both could be beneficial in many ways.
  • Sole legal custody helps reduce conflict between you and your ex, which is especially helpful if your relationship is contentious.
  • You can make decisions without having to consult your co-parent, which helps alleviate stress, especially if he or she tends to become unreachable when an issue arises.
  • Children may be less stressed because one parent making decisions provides a sense of consistency and routine as they cope with divorce and move on in life.

There are possible downsides to having sole legal custody as well. For instance, you might feel pressured or overwhelmed when all decisions are your responsibility. If your ex has a bad temper, he or she may resent the fact that you have sole decision-making authority.

Legitimate reasons for seeking sole legal custody of your kids

If you believe your ex has a substance abuse problem or places your children at risk in some way, it is logical to assume that seeking sole legal custody may benefit your children. As a sole custodial parent, it makes sense to seek sole legal custody as well. If your ex has distanced himself or herself from your kids, it may be stressful to have to track him or her down every time a decision must be made, so filing a petition for sole legal custody in this case would make sense. 

It's always best to have a strong support network in place from the start when preparing for child custody proceedings. Many Louisiana parents stay connected to experienced family law attorneys in case any legal problems arise. 

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