Regardless of whether you and your spouse agreed to sole custody, you received a sole custody award through litigation or the judge deemed the other parent unfit to share custody, there are a few things you should know as a sole custody parent.
First and foremost, you need to know what kind of sole custody you have. If you have sole physical custody, it means that your child will live with you full-time and the other parent might have visitation rights. If you have sole legal custody, it means that you'll have decision-making authority over important child care and parenting matters - like medical care, education, religion and extra-curricular activities.
What else should I know about sole custody?
Parents who have sole custody - or want sole custody - should know about the various advantages and disadvantages of being a sole custody parent. For one, parents with sole physical custody will be responsible for their children all of the time. This may be a beautiful experience, but it can also be exhausting - especially when you don't have another spouse or partner to share the burden of your parental responsibilities or give you a break from time to time. Parents seeking sole custody should keep in mind what having sole custody will entail in terms of the amount of free time available to them.
As for sole legal custody, the benefit is that you can make decisions for your child in whatever way you see fit, and you don't have to consult with your ex about them. This can be freeing, and many sole custody parents relish the ability to make childcare autonomously. The downside is that sometimes it's hard to know what decision is best, and having a co-parent to discuss your ideas with can be enormously helpful.
What kind of child custody arrangements do you want to have?
When two parents agree on their child custody arrangements, they will have a great deal of leeway to organize their custody agreement and parenting plan in a way that suits their needs and the best interests of their children. As such, it's important for parents to fully understand all the options available to them, so they can select the one that will result in the happiest and most fulfilling outcome.