Some Texans who are seeking custody rights of their children might want to receive sole custody of their children. There is a difference between sole physical and sole legal custody, and parents need to understand what these types mean.

Sole physical custody of a child simply refers to which parent the child lives with the majority of the time. The other parent may have visitation rights, including the right to have the children sleep at their homes. By contrast, sole legal custody refers to having the ability to make all of the important legal decisions for a child without having to consult with the other parent. The areas that are covered by sole legal custody include decisions about education, medical care, and religious upbringing.

In most cases, sole legal custody is disfavored by family courts. However, it can be appropriate in situations in which the relationship between the parents was abusive. It might also be appropriate when one parent is continuously unavailable or has substance abuse problems. Finally, sole legal custody might be an appropriate choice when the parents live in different time zones because of the need to make immediate decisions.

Child custody can be highly contentious issues for divorcing parents. People who are wanting to seek custody of their children might benefit from talking to experienced family law attorneys about whether sole physical and legal custody is the right option for them. In most cases, joint legal custody will be a more appropriate choice. However, if a parent is leaving an abusive relationship, the other parent is frequently unavailable, or the other parent has a history of substance abuse problems, sole legal custody might be an appropriate option.