The New Hampshire family courts try to look at many family circumstances when deciding what kind of custody arrangement will be in the best interests of the children in the family. For most families, the courts want to encourage the continued involvement of both parents

However, there are certain situations in which the courts may decide to basically allocate all of the parental rights and responsibilities for the children of a family to one parent over the other. Typically, there are extenuating circumstances that lead to this unusual kind of custody ruling.

Sole custody usually only happens when one parent can’t, shouldn’t or won’t parent

One parent being incarcerated for a criminal offense is a common reason for the court to allocate all parental responsibilities to the other parent. However, incarceration is far from the only reason that the courts will choose one parent to care for the children while leaving the other to seek visitation, potentially with state supervision. 

Serious medical issues, including mental health issues, can convince the courts that a parent doesn’t have the ability to currently fulfill the obligations involved with parenting time. An ongoing struggle with addiction that has resulted in neglect or could cause neglect in the future also give the courts reason to deny one parent shared custody. 

Abuse of the children in the family is another reason for the court to choose one parent to handle most if not all of the parental responsibilities for the children in the family. Those issues comprise the situations in which the courts view a parent as someone who shouldn’t play a role or who can’t. Sometimes, one parent secures sole custody of the children because the other parent won’t step up and doesn’t seek their parental rights.