There is no disputing the positive effect co-parenting can have on children of divorce. After the turmoil of the breakup, arranging parenting schedules so that both parents can spend as much time as possible with the kids can certainly diminish the potential for long-term negative impacts on the children.
All things being equal, you may agree that shared parenting is a good idea. However, maybe you have reasons for not wanting to co-parent with your ex. If you have decided to fight for sole custody of your children, you may wonder if your reasons are valid and how you can make your case in court.
Fighting for your children
If your ex has an unpredictable schedule or a job requiring long periods away from home, this may not be adequate reason to insist on sole legal and physical custody. Additionally, you may wish for sole custody simply because you don’t get along with your ex-spouse. With a bit of flexibility and willingness to work together, you and your spouse may be able to overcome those conflicts for the sake of the children. On the other hand, any of the following reasons may be valid for fighting for sole custody:
- Unresolved substance abuse issues
- Physical, emotional or sexual abuse of you or your children
- A history of violence or threats against another person, animal or property
- Your ex’s plans to move out of the area after the divorce
- Your ex’s attempts to poison your children against you
- A diagnosed mental disorder such as narcissism or psychopathy that makes your ex’s parenting skills questionable
- Past episodes of neglect or abandonment of the children
- A history of inappropriate or risky behaviors that may place the children at risk
- The incarceration of your spouse or the existence of a valid restraining order
If you intend to use any of these or other factors to prove your claim for sole custody, you will need to provide the court with evidence beyond your testimony. You may need a log detailing negative events, police and medical records, or eyewitness accounts to corroborate your allegations. You may also benefit from the advocacy and representation of a skilled attorney who can guide you in understanding the custody laws of Arizona and assist you in preparing your case as you work toward the best possible outcome.