146 Children’s Legal Rights Journal [Vol. 37: 1 2017]
parent for another later on in life. 138 Sadly, these prospective modifications to the parenting plan
would present yet another drastic life change for the children in joint custody arrangements to
overcome and ultimately result in another transition period of instability for the children to
encounter and cope with in the future.
Joint custody arrangements are ideal on the surface, but joint custody vigorously clashes
with the long-term best interests of the children in practice. It is arguably the best or most fair
custody arrangement for the parents involved, but it is unequivocally detrimental to the
C. Factors Used by the Court in Determining Sole Custody
Though the court strongly favors joint custody, it still awards sole custody in some
circumstances. 140 For instance, a parent’s proven incapacity to make a joint custody plan work or
the parents’ proven inability to cooperate with each other may be a reason for the court to award
sole custody. 141 The court can award sole custody without having to expressly show the child’s
harm because it believes it to be in the best interests of the child. 142 Some states prohibit joint
custody in cases of domestic violence, child abuse, or spousal abuse. 143 Using the primary
caretaker approach, the court may determine that sole custody is the appropriate arrangement for
the child if only one parent had taken on most of the daily responsibilities for the child. 144
Ultimately, an arrangement of sole custody must serve what the court believes is the best interest
of the child in order to be granted.
D. Reasons to Promote Sole Custody Arrangements
138 See id.
139 See id. at 494.
140 See id. at 455.
141 See generally Sutton v. Sutton, 223 S. W.3d 786 (Mo. Ct. App. 2007).
142 See id.
143 DONALD T. KRAMER, LEGAL RIGHTS OF CHILDREN 165, 172 (2d ed. 2014).