How often is sole legal custody granted


You are probably asking something that is unknowable. I doubt that statistics are kept on such numbers. The age of children can be a large factor. By this I mean if they are teens then they can have a say in the matter.

If one spouse is a blatantly horrible person (crack addict, convicted felon, child abuser, etc) then the chances of the other parent getting sole custody would be higher, but sadly not a sure thing.


I’d have to agree with don5327, but with a slightly different reason. The numbers are probably not recorded but the terms of custody are what you make them mean, to an extent. For example, joint physical custody can mean that one parent has the child/children the majority of the time while in another agreement/court order that may mean that the parents have equal time.
Legal custody defaults to joint in NC if it’s not in the agreement or order. If your stbx is filing for primary or sole legal custody then that in essence means that she/he does not want you to have any say over the any decisions made for your child. One parent can have sole or primary physical custody while still having joint legal custody. And there are some who can have joint physical custody while having primary legal custody…I don’t believe this is the normal rulling though. It’s better to have these terms defined and specified in the agreement or order.


Her reasoning for wanting sole legal custody is so she doesn’t have to deal with me. She has moved in with her parents and pretty much inserted them as the new parent for my children. SO basicaly what you are saying is that in court, it is highly unlikely that a judge would rule for sole legal custody as she is saying she will get? and that it is a blind scare tactic on her part.

I must say this board has been very informative, thank you for your support.

Neil Kravis


Under normal circumstances I would say that this is a scare tactic because it’s unlikely that she would be granted sole legal custody but not impossible. If you do not fight this then she could get primary legal and physical custody granted and it would be very difficult to get that reversed. I suggest getting in to see an attorney as soon as possible to see what your options are.

Normally, what happens during the separation sets a precedent. If there has been an arrangement between you that has worked then there must be a valid reason to change it. Most courts believe that both parents should be as involved in the child’s life as possible. Her job in this will be to show the courts why the arrangement that you have had for the last 9 months and has worked for you both, is no longer good for the children. Your job will be to show that there is no reason for the courts to remove physical or legal custody from you and that you are capable, willing, and able to care for your children as you have been doing for the last 9 months. Unless she has something else to claim, I do not see where it is in the best interest of the children to change the previously agreed to arrangement.
She’s saying that she will get custody so that you will give up, IMHO. Please consult an attorney and do not allow this to happen without a fight. Once the court rules on custody it’s diffcult, not impossible, but very difficult to have it changed. If you allow her to have primary legal and physical custody it will not change the fact that you are the father, but it will limit you on any decision. While she can not keep the children from you, she could decide when and where visitations take place and how often. She could decide not to allow the children to contact you. She would be the only person to decide if they should need surgery or medical care/treatment. She would be the only one to decide anything about their education. You would be reduced to a “Disneyland Dad” and while that has it’s perks, it’s also not how most father’s would choose to be involved.


Not often, for additional information please see my answer to your other post on this topic.

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

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Basic question, how often is sole legal custody granted to one party or another?

Neil Kravis