Grounds for Being Awarded Full Custody of Children as part of Divorce

A divorce can be a painful event for both parents and their children. The essential thing judges seek to determine when it comes to who gets custody of the children after a divorce is the children’s best interest. If parents are seeking full custody, they must be able to prove that other custody options available are not in the best interest of the children This article highlights some of the reasons why a court would award full custody of children to one parent as part of a divorce and how a Mesa child custody lawyer can help you through the process.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a significant threat to many relationships. With children involved, domestic violence is a strong factor for the court when seeking full custody. Evidence of domestic violence can pose a significant danger to the children in a marriage, and the court will look at the frequency and type of violence and if the court determines that a significant act of domestic violence has occurred, a presumption arises that joint decision making is not in the best interest of the children. One school of thought is that evidence of frequency and severity of domestic violence is an indication of a future, behavior which points to the fact that it would not be in the best interest of a child to award custody in equal parts to the other party. Any incidents of child or spousal abuse should be discussed in-depth with your Mesa divorce lawyer to ensure you are able to achieve your desired outcome when it comes to securing custody of your children.

Mental Illness

Mental illness can be brought about by stress, depression, or other physical impairments, all of which can have a significant impact on how a child may be cared for while in a parent’s custody. The court, under Arizona law, must take into consideration
how mental illness affects parenting and the relationship with the child. If, after a divorce, one partner is determined to have a severe mental illness that makes them prone to outbursts, violent actions, frequent hospitalizations, or sexual abuse, then full
custody may be granted in favor of the other parent. A parent involved in severe child neglect or child abuse can lose their parental rights.

Alcohol or Drug Abuse

Alcohol and drug abuse can have detrimental impacts on the life of a child. In some instances, if a parent struggles with drug and substance abuse, child protection agencies may prohibit parental care. The court can deny a parent with a drug or substance addiction the right to share in the custody of the children after a divorce, and if left untreated, the court may completely terminate the parental rights and grant full custody of the child to the other parent. The family court does not have the authority to
terminate parental rights but does have the power to refer the parties and their case to a juvenile court where a dependency action is initiated to address removal of rights.

Call Us Today

Generally, the divorce process is difficult for everyone involved, but to protect your children, it is vital to understand various grounds considered by family courts to award full custody. To find more about these considerations contact our Mesa divorce lawyers today for a free consultation where we will discuss what you need to know regarding your children, your rights to custody, and the options you have of helping protect your children during and after the divorce.