Sometime, one parent is given sole custody of the child. A parent with sole custody has exclusive legal and physical custody. The child lives exclusively with that parent and that parent has the sole right of taking decisions that affect the welfare of the child. Often sole custody is awarded to one parent if the other parent is unfit or incapable of exercising parental responsibility. A parent can be considered unfit or incapable of exercising parental responsibility for many reasons including child abuse, being a habitual offender, substance addiction, etc. The non-custodial parent may be awarded limited visitation rights. Sometimes the court may other that the visitation be supervised especially if the parent has been denied custody because of child abuse or domestic violence.
Example: Because of the Father’s history of drug abuse, the court awards sole custody to the Mother. In this case, the child stays with the mother and only the Mother can take important decisions about the child’s welfare. The Father has no say. The court may grant visitation rights to the Father.