An experienced and dedicated legal team
resolving family law challenges in a calm setting.

What happens when a parent has sole custody of their children?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2023 | Child Custody

Generally speaking, New Jersey courts prefer to allow children to have time with both parents after a divorce. The court believes that it is beneficial for children to maintain a relationship with each parent. But there are exceptions to this where one parent may retain sole custody of minor children. When one parent has sole custody, the other parent will usually be granted visitation depending on the circumstances.  

Sole custody 

When a parent has sole legal custody of a child, they are responsible for making all decisions for that child. In most cases, the child will live primarily with that parent but may visit the other parent based on the custody schedule. Sole custody is awarded when the court believes that one parent is better equipped to handle parenting duties than the other. This may happen in cases of abuse or neglect.  

Visitation may be supervised or unsupervised, depending on the situation. With supervised visits, the non-custodial parent will spend time with the child in a specified location based on a set schedule with a supervisor present. With unsupervised visitation, the child may spend time with the parent at their home or another location without a third party present.  

Filing for sole custody 

When a parent believes that their former spouse is not fit to have custody of their children after divorce, they can petition the court to award sole custody. It’s important to understand that New Jersey courts prefer children to maintain relationships with both parents, except under extenuating circumstances. When a parent seeks sole custody, they should be prepared to show evidence in court to support their claim. An attorney can help one gather evidence and prepare for the custody hearing.