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Question regarding Sole Custody versus joint custody

Terra2fly's picture

1. What do MOST divorced people have Legal joint custody where BOTH parents have Equal say in major education/medical regarding children OR sole custody where ONE parent gets 100 percent say? 

2. What would one parent have to do to make the judge Reverse legal joint custody and give full legal custody to one parent and just Visitation rights to the other parent? 

tog redux's picture

Most people have Joint custody, sole custody is rare nowadays.

I think the parent would have to prove the other parent is obstructing all decision-making or just has terrible judgment.

I know you are in NY - they are very mother-friendly, so if it's your DH hoping to get sole custody, I wouldn't count on it.

Terra2fly's picture

It's not DH who is trying to get Sole custody but BM.    We are very Familiar with how New York State family court is mother friendly. Then add BM has the better Attorney. 

A few years ago DH threw older step kid(mid teens) out for stealing and refused to let them back in intill BM would allow Consequences for the stealing and BM refused. BM is now playing the victim card for older step kid with the court and they seem to be buying it.

The family court judge is putting pressure on DH to just "forget" the stealing and act like it never happened and "forgive" older step kid. The judge went as far to say "what's going to happen if younger step kid steals? Are you going to toss them aside too?"

DH is fearful that the judge will give BM full Legal custody of younger stepson over this issue. Of course DH will still get the same "Visitation" but he will lose any say in Major medical or education.


So my question is could the judge do this based on what DH did?

tog redux's picture

We are also in NY, and BM dragged out any custody resolution until DH gave her sole custody. He finally did.

He said, "she acts like she has sole custody anyway," - she made all decisions without ever consulting him.  If your BM is the same way, might as well just give it to her and save some money.

Thumper's picture

WOW I totally totally agree with Tog on this one.

We had the same thing.

Finally dh gave everyone (Bm and her kids)  what they wanted....No meaningfull relationship and a huge child support check every month.

That was what is was about $$$$$$$$$


lieutenant_dad's picture

Agreeing with tog. If she is already acting like she has sole custody, your DH may as well just give it to her.

But then he needs to HOLD HER TO IT.

She needs DH to take the kids to a doctor's appointment? No can do, BM. What happens if they need to ask a question? DH doesn't have legal authority to answer. Too bad, so sad BM.

She needs DH to enroll the kids in school? Nope, sorry. The CO says DH can't.

I would make sure that there are limits monetarily in the CO if he just gives in to her. She can make decisions about the kids, but your DH can't be 100% on the hook financially. No random private school or private college. No random medical expenses. He should probably work with his attorney to craft a CO where DH pays his share of in-network medical expenses, and his share of public schooling (or, if they are in private school, the rates at that or a similarly-priced school). Perhaps hitting her with that compromise and settling out of court would be sufficient.

ETA: Regarding the stealing, while I don't agree with the judge's "forgive and forget", I do think your DH needs to come up with something better that doesn't hinge on BM also providing consequences.  That's not sustainable.

tog redux's picture

I can see how the court might see him kicking the kid out as him abdicating joint custody - joint custody means you deal with problems that happen and don't turn over parenting to the other parent.  Sole custody means just visitation, which he can turn down.

OP, what would your DH do if the younger one has problems, will he kick him out? The whole thing doesn't really look good for him.  BM can't control what consequences he gives the kid in his home.

Terra2fly's picture

Regarding OSS DH DID try and give Consequences since the stealing happened to us at our home. OSS refused the Consequences and called BM to come pick him up which she did. They had legal joint custody at the time. DH told BM OSS was NOT allowed back into our home until Consequences could be given by DH. Both BM and OSS refused. Instead BM took DH back to family court to get sole custody of BOTH kids. Basically it was BM's way of Threatening DH  you can't have YSS without taking OSS back. BM's Tactic did not work and DH held his ground mostly because of me having the backbone and refusing to allow OSS back over till Proper consequences could be given. So the judge sided with BM and gave sole custody to BM. 

Now for the question if YSS did the same thing as OSS. Number one YSS is super clingy/needy for DH. Probably because he saw what happened to OSS so that's making her super Sensitive so doubt he would cross the line as DH does not fool around. If DH for some reason allowed Delinquent behavior with no Consequences I would leave. 

Crazystepmom12's picture

Be thankful your DH took your side on this one

Rags's picture

My DW always had sole physical and legal custody of SS-28.  That was usually the case in SpermLand with underage out of wedlock pregnancies at that time.  Particularly when the teen mom left the state for college taking the baby with her.

My DW had SS when she was 16.  The SpermIdiot was 23 when SS was born.  No paternity was listed on the birth certificate though about 9mos after SS was born her family attorney advised DW to file for a paternity and CS order against the SpermIdiot.  Upon Judge's signature that order clearly established sole physical and legal custody for my DW. DW graduated HS 3mos before SS turned 1yo and left for university out of state just after SS turned 1yo.

There was zero effort to change things by the SpermClan until the small town grapevine jabber about DW dating someone at college got to SpermGrandHag. At that point she filed for custody of SS in her idiot son's name without telling her idiot son.  She signed his name on the relevant documents.  That started the 9 month legal battle over custody of my SS.  Long story shorter... my DW won. Lock, stock and barrel.  She retained full physical and legal custody, CS went up by ~20% from a generous $110/mo to a whopping $133/mo.   *bad*      And visitation was established for the SpermIdiot at 9wks per year (6wks summer, 1wk fall, 1wk winter, and 1wk spring) though they never once took the fall visitation.  Reality was that visitation never exceeded 7wks per year (5wks summer, 1wk winter. 1wk spring) because of SpermGrandHags manipulative crap.   

Since we never lived nearer than 1200miles to SpermLand and full time school in our state started at Kindergarten rather than 1st grade visitation was corrected to the 7wks that was to begin when SS started 1st grade.

Based on our experience, custody changes are not easy to make happen.  The SpermClan wanted full physical and legal custody, we countered with ending any and all contact or visitation with the SpermClan and the Judge basically made no substantive change from the original full physical and legal custody for my DW.

Neither side should into court with confidence or major goals so that they will not be disappointed when the Judge basically does nothing beyond what is already in play. 

For some reason courts seem to like the Status Quo even when there is significant reason to make changes.