Who Has Sole Legal Custody of a Child? 

In most cases, the parent with physical custody of a child is awarded sole legal custody. The other parent may be consulted about major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, but the final say will be with the custodial parent. This is also true for visitation rights and child support. 

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Legal custody 

In a divorce or separation, the parent who is awarded legal custody of the child has the authority to make important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. These decisions usually include religion, education, and healthcare. A parent can be awarded sole legal custody, or joint custody. Joint custody is most common, though sole custody can also be awarded when one parent is unable to take care of the child. 

Physical custody 

Physical custody is the right of a parent to make major decisions for the child. This includes where and with whom the child lives. This is different from legal custody, which involves consultations with both parents. Physical custody is also the right of the parent to make decisions for the child, such as religion or schooling. 

Visitation rights 

A child with sole custody has fewer rights than a child whose parents share joint custody. A court can limit or prohibit a parent from having visitation, but it cannot force either parent to have regular contact with the child. However, the court may limit the visits if the parent has not been consistent in paying child support. 

Child support 

Child support is the amount of money that a parent pays the other parent for the care of their child. This money is paid for everything the child needs to grow and thrive, including education and clothing. Child support is calculated on the income of both parents and the number of children. 

Reasons a court may grant sole legal custody to a parent 

The court may grant sole legal custody to a particular parent for a number of reasons. One such reason is a history of abuse. It could be physical or mental, and could involve either the child or the other parent. This is a common situation after a divorce, especially when it is accompanied by a restraining order. A court will grant sole legal custody only when there is credible evidence to support it. 

How to get sole legal custody 

The first step to getting sole legal custody of a child is to make a request to the court for it. This will involve filling out the proper paperwork, serving the other parent, and going through the necessary steps. The process can be difficult, especially if your ex doesn’t want to cooperate. It may be necessary to hire an intermediary to do the filing.