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Do the Pennsylvania courts ever award one parent sole custody?

Every family has its own unique dynamic, and the Pennsylvania family courts will usually consider a family’s needs when setting terms for custody in a parental divorce. Shared custody between parents is a common outcome, as the courts want to make decisions that uphold the best interests of the children.

In most cases, the best interests of a child will mean getting to spend time with both parents after the divorce. As someone seeking a divorce, you may not be that enthusiastic about seeing your ex, but you may recognize how important their presence is for your children.

However, you may also worry about them causing harm to your children through abuse or neglect. Is it possible for a parent to seek sole custody during a Pennsylvania divorce?

Do you have a justification for your request?

In most cases, the courts frown on parents who would intentionally cut children off from a source of support just because of issues in the parental relationship. They want to see parents working together for the benefit of the children. Just asking for sole custody because you don’t want to spend time with your children isn’t likely to succeed.

However, if your spouse has health issues, including mental health problems, that prevent them from caring for the children, if they have a history of being abusive or neglectful or if they are in a very dangerous or unstable living situation, the courts may agree that shared custody isn’t the right decision right now.

You can possibly get full custody if your ex doesn’t ask for parenting time

One of the more common reasons that one parent is able to secure sole custody in a divorce might surprise you. It is more common than many people think for one parent to not ask for shared custody or parenting time in a divorce.

In that situation, even if there isn’t evidence of parental wrongdoing or safety issues, the courts may choose to give you sole custody of the children. In most other situations, shared custody is likely. Getting good help early in the divorce process can help you better understand how this process works and what the best approach to various issues might be in your situation.