Upon divorcing, many couples with children can co-parent in a civil and effective manner. Yet, your divorce may stem from your spouse’s behavior, and you may fear their actions could influence your children. While you might want to fight for sole custody, you will likely wonder whether it is worth doing so. Depending on your situation, it could be.

Sole custody is the law

Unlike many states, New York does not have laws addressing joint custody. Based on the state’s statutes, its courts presume that one parent will receive sole legal and physical custody of their children when they divorce. Any parents who want to share custody must work out an agreement together outside the courtroom. When a couple follows the state’s guidelines, the non-custodial parent will not have decision-making power over their kids. Nor will their home be their children’s primary residence. But they will still receive fair visitation time.

Sole custody can protect your children

You might have concerns about your spouse spending time with your kids whatsoever. Or, you may feel they need supervision when they’re around your children. Despite New York’s custody laws, it is rare for the state’s courts to curtail the rights of one parent altogether. But they may limit your spouse’s if they:

  • Have a history of domestic violence
  • Have a history of substance abuse
  • Have a history of neglecting your children
  • Have a history of criminal behavior
  • Have physically, emotionally or sexually abused your children
  • Cannot provide a stable home environment for your children
  • Try to interfere with your relationship with your children

Receiving sole custody during divorce proceedings is often a matter of New York law. Yet, if your circumstances are exceptional, you may need to take extra steps to protect your children. An attorney with family law experience can help you achieve an outcome that prioritizes their well-being.