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When can a parent ask for sole custody in North Carolina?

On Behalf of | May 19, 2021 | Child Custody |

Custody proceedings can be some of the most contentious parts of a divorce. Most of the time, this is because parents don’t agree about the best way to split up parenting time.

However, there are rare cases in which one spouse wants to prevent the other from having shared custody. When can one parent ask for sole custody in a North Carolina divorce with minor children?

When there is evidence of abuse in the household

The North Carolina family courts tend to prefer custody solutions that keep both parents involved. This preference stems from the state’s focus on the best interests of the children. Getting to spend time with both parents is usually beneficial unless one parent poses a risk of harm to the kids.

When there is evidence of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, the courts may decide to limit the access of the abusive parents to the children for their protection. Both abuse directed at the children and directed at one parent in front of the children could affect custody decisions.

When one parent is incapable of parenting alone

It’s not uncommon for one parent to do a lot more for the children than the other. After divorce, the less involved parent usually has a pretty sharp learning curve to master. However, divorce often helps make uninvolved parents become better at the job.

Sadly, not every parent chooses to step up after their marriage ends. They might brush off their parental responsibilities or live an unstable life. They could give in to their worst impulses, medicating their sorrow with drugs or alcohol.

The courts will consider restricting the parental rights of someone unwilling or unable to take proper care of the children. Generally, a parent seeking sole custody in a divorce will need to show that their co-parent poses a risk of harm to the children to secure such a custody outcome.