Parents preparing for divorce or separation in New Hampshire will likely share custody of their children. State law requires that the courts do what is best for the children, and that typically means preserving both parental relationships.
However, there are occasionally scenarios in which the courts choose to deviate from the expectation of shared parenting time and decision-making authority. A judge can award one parent sole custody if the situation indicates that doing so would be in a child’s best interests. These are some of the reasons that the courts could seriously limit one parent’s access to the children.
1. A history of abuse or neglect
Not everyone who has children is capable of fulfilling all of the needs that children have. Unfortunately, some people ignore their children or become abusive toward them. Medical reports and police records showing that one parent has injured the children or abused the other parent in front of them could potentially lead to a sole custody order.
2. Issues with substance abuse
Parents who drink every night might end up unconscious and unable to tend to a household emergency should something happen. Those who consume illegal drugs are also incapable of handling emergencies or providing transportation for their children.
Additionally, mind-altering substances can lead to bad behavior that might include abusive actions toward the children. When there is documentation affirming that one parent has a substance abuse issue that limits their ability to parent, that could influence what a judge decides is appropriate.
3. Serious physical or mental health issues
There are parents who desperately want to do what is best for their children but find themselves incapable of making that desire a reality. Numerous serious medical issues, ranging from active cancer to epilepsy, might limit someone’s ability to meet their children’s needs. When someone has medical issues that could endanger their children, the courts may limit them to visitation instead of granting them overnight access to the children.
Typically, there is a need for supporting documentation whenever a parent tries to ask the courts to deviate from the expectation of shared custody. Learning more about the rules that apply to New Hampshire custody cases can help those who are preparing for negotiations or their day in family court.