For the most part, the Nebraska courts try to create custody arrangements in parenting plans that focus on the best interests of the children. In almost all situations, those best interests will involve having a good relationship with both of their parents after the divorce.
Psychological and sociological research has made it clear that both parents remaining active in the lives of children after divorce is of the utmost importance for their healthy development. As a result, the courts are less likely than ever before to grant full custody to one parent over the other.
There are only a few circumstances that will typically result in one parent getting sole custody in a Nebraska divorce.
Families with a history of emotional, physical or sexual abuse
When one parent engages in violent or dangerous behavior toward the other parent or the children, that can influence how the courts rule in a custody case. However, allegations of violence alone usually aren’t enough to sway the courts. Instead, there needs to be some kind of evidence, whether there are police reports, medical records or other official documentation of abuse, or the effects of abuse on the children or adults in your family.
Parents with severe instability issues
If one parent can’t keep a job or a place to live, they can’t provide the kind of structure and stability that children need to thrive. The courts will look at the circumstances of each parent when deciding what custody outcome is best for everyone involved. When one parent can’t provide a safe place to stay, the courts may decide that the children would be better served by seeing that parent during shorter visitation sessions as opposed to overnight shared custody arrangements.
Parents with addiction and health issues
Addiction can impact everything from someone’s consciousness to their decision-making skills. Whether a person struggles with an addiction to gambling, alcohol or drugs, that addiction could compromise their parenting abilities.
Similarly, severe illnesses, ranging from physical conditions to mental health problems, can affect how someone parents. If one parent can show documentation to the court that the condition of the other parent is extreme enough to affect their care for the children, the courts may decide against joint custody.
A parent with a lack of interest or legal action
Believe it or not, one of the most common reasons for the courts to issue sole custody to one parent is because the other parent does not oppose that request. When only one parent seems to show an interest in caring for the children, the courts will potentially choose to entrust this parent with full custody of the children.
As a father, the single most important thing you can do during a divorce is advocate for your rights and protect your relationship with your children. If you stand up and ask for your parenting time, you will increase your chances of a positive outcome.