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Shared parental rights are the standard in most Kentucky divorces. The courts will typically anticipate splitting custody or parental rights between you and your ex.

However, while shared custody is the more common outcome, there are still situations in which you might be able to seek full custody of your children during a divorce. Knowing if your family circumstances might justify sole custody can help you make more informed decisions about how you proceed.

Does your ex pose a threat to your children?

The most straightforward grounds for seeking sole custody will likely be situations involving neglect or abuse. Provided that you have some sort of corroborating documentation that shows that your spouse has been physically abusive toward the children or that they pose a threat because of a history of uncontrolled temper or neglect, the courts may award you sole custody.

Generally speaking, you will have to establish that the presence of your ex is not in the best interests of your children. A clear-cut scenario of child abuse will usually mean that the children won’t benefit from time with the abusive parent.

 Is your ex incapable of adequately parenting?

Another common concern for you as a divorcing parent could be your ex’s substance abuse history or uncontrolled mental health issues. While neither a history of addiction nor a diagnosis with a mental health condition precludes someone from parenting, if your ex doesn’t take steps to maintain control over themselves and their circumstances, they may not be able to adequately parent. If they are too unstable, the courts may agree with you that sole custody is best for the kids.

Does your ex actively want to avoid parental responsibility?

You might feel surprised to learn that some parents don’t want their parental rights after a divorce. They may not want parenting time or the obligation to provide clothing, housing and other necessities for the children. If your ex isn’t going to seek shared custody, that can make it easier for you to ask for sole custody.

Given that sole custody outcomes are a deviation from the norm, it often makes good sense to review your situation with an attorney before you commit to a specific legal strategy in complicated custody proceedings during a divorce.