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What is sole legal custody and when is it necessary?

On Behalf of | Oct 2, 2020 | Child Custody

It’s no secret that divorce can be contentious and full of conflict. For parents seeking a divorce, their primary concern should always be the safety and well-being of the children. In Texas, there are two basic types of child custody arrangements: physical custody and legal custody. If a parent is coming out of an abusive relationship or dealing with a spouse who is never around, it may be necessary for that parent to pursue sole legal custody of the children. However, like all custody arrangements, sole legal custody has its pros and cons.

Keep in mind sole legal custody is different than sole physical custody. If a parent has sole legal custody of a child, it means that parent is the only person who can make legal decisions that affect the child. These decisions usually include healthcare, education and religion. Sole legal custody is less common these days and typically only utilized if joint legal custody is unsafe for the children.

There are some benefits to sole legal custody, as well as some drawbacks.

Some pros include:

  • Because only one parent is involved, major legal decisions are easier.
  • A sole custody arrangement is typically more stable for the children.
  • Sole legal custody will keep children safe if the other parent was previously abusive or unstable.

However, sole legal custody has a few negative consequences:

  • It may become overwhelming for one parent to make all the decisions.
  • This type of arrangement could facilitate conflict and resentment.
  • Since the other parent has very limited involvement, children may see the other parent as less important.

Any parent who wants to pursue sole legal custody should always take a step back and make sure that the parent is not fulfilling his or her own desires, but doing what is best for the children. Before moving forward with any child custody arrangement, parents in Texas should always consider legal guidance. A skilled and experienced litigator can answer tough questions and help parents decide what is best for their specific situation.