The common practice in Connecticut family courts these days is to work toward joint physical custody when parents are divorcing. That doesn’t mean, however, that joint custody is what is always wanted by the parents or what is best for the children. Sole physical child custody is highly sought-after and frequently requested by parents. With any custody arrangements, including sole physical custody, there are pros and cons. Parents should consider all the consequences of the arrangement when they are determining what is best for their family.
Sole physical custody refers to an arrangement in which the children live with one parent all of the time or at least more than with the other parent. The children still usually have a considerable amount of visitation time with the noncustodial parent. In the United States one quarter of children are in a sole custody situation.
There are several reasons a parent may seek sole physical custody. The second parent may live in another town or have a history of abuse. Sole custody allows the children to have a single residence and not have to shuffle back-and-forth constantly between two homes. The children often also stay in the same schools and neighborhoods they did prior to the divorce, which allows for stability and the maintaining of friendships.
There are some cons to the sole custody arrangement. Although the children usually get a significant amount of visitation time to spend with the noncustodial parent it is not the same as actually living together. The children and parent often miss each other immensely. The parent-child relationship can become altered. In an attempt to maximize time together visitation time can become more of a play time and the non-custodial parent’s opportunity to parent, teach life lessons and have an impact on the child’s development can become lost.
While it is often a parent’s initial reaction to desire sole physical child custody, it can have significant repercussions. When developing a child custody arrangement, the well-being of the children must be put first. An experienced Connecticut attorney can assist a parent in understanding his or her legal rights and considering all of his or her options to determine what arrangement would be best for the children.