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When is sole legal and physical custody possible?

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When is sole legal and physical custody possible?

| Jul 22, 2020 | Child Custody |

The courts typically want to see a custody situation that allows children to build and maintain relationships with both parents. Due to that, sole legal and physical custody is something the courts try to avoid. 

How easy or difficult it is to get sole legal and physical custody depends largely upon your particular situation. There are certain things that would make it easier to accomplish. 

Unmarried mother

According to the Pennsylvania Code, if you are a mother who is not married to anyone, then you automatically have sole legal and physical custody of your child at birth. To change this, the father would have to gain his parental rights by establishing paternity and then go to court to secure custody rights. 

Criminal or abuse history

The court will always look out for the best interests of your children. If you show that the other parent has a history of abuse or a concerning criminal history, the court may consider this when making custody decisions. If your children’s other parent has a history of abusing them or you, then it is more likely that you can secure sole legal and physical custody. 

In addition, if the other parent lives with someone who has a concerning criminal record or history of abuse, then that will also weigh into the court’s decision. 

However, the court will try to find a way for both parents to be in a child’s life if possible. While you may have sole legal and physical custody, the court may still order some visitation, even if it is supervised. 


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