It is possible to request exclusive custody of minor children to the mother or father from the judge only in the presence of specific reasons.

In the case of exclusive custody, both parents retain parental responsibility for the children, but this responsibility is largely exercised by the custodial parent, whether it's the mother or the father.

This type of custody can also apply to cases of children of unmarried parents.

Decisions of major importance – related to education, instruction, and the health of the children – will still be made jointly by the parents.

This circumstance changes in the case of the so-called super-exclusive custody.

Requirements for Requesting Exclusive Custody

The decision of exclusive custody is made taking into account the child's best interest, as well as their will, if they are of sufficient age to totally express his/her own opinion.

To request exclusive custody, certain prerequisites must be met:

  • Shared custody could be detrimental to the children;
  • One of the parents shows impossibility or incapacity to dedicate themselves to the children;
  • One of the parents displays complete moral or material disinterest towards the children;
  • The minor, if of an age capable of discernment, has no relationship with one of the parents for justifiable reasons that lead them to prefer staying with the other parent;
  • One of the parents is guilty of episodes of violence against the children or the other parent;
  • Parental alienation;
  • Child abduction, resulting in the other parent's inability to exercise their parental rights and duties.

In some cases, to prevent international child abduction, a ban on the minor's travel can be requested with a precautionary application.

Situations that DO NOT lead to or justify exclusive custody:

  • Homosexual relationship of one of the parents;
  • Choosing to profess a religion different from Catholicism;
  • Arrest of one of the parents, until there is a conviction;
  • Significant geographical distance between the residences of the two parents;
  • Transfer of one of the parents to another city;
  • When one of the parents frequently entrusts the children to grandparents;

How to Request Exclusive Custody of Children?

To request exclusive custody of a child, it is necessary to submit a specific application to a judge at any time, even if the judge has already decided to proceed with shared custody of the children.

The evaluation always falls under the jurisdiction of the court, and if it deems that this solution is the one that best safeguards the child's interest, the application will be accepted.

Since exclusive custody is a residual option, the court's decision must adequately justify the reasons underlying the choice of this form of custody.

The reasoning for the decision should include the criteria by which a parent has been deemed suitable for custody, but also the "negative motivation," that is, explanations as to why the other parent has been considered incapable of caring for the child.

Consequences of Exclusive Custody

Exclusive custody entails a series of obligations for the parent to whom custody of the child is granted.

This situation of exclusivity does not deny the other parent the right to visitation, which will be regulated accordingly, and the right to participate in significant decisions concerning the child.

It might also occur that the rights of the non-custodial parent are denied or limited by the judge due to the parent's behavior, or there might be a need to establish a "neutral" location for the visits to take place, ensuring that these encounters occur only in the presence of third parties.

Super-Exclusive/Strengthened Custody

A subspecies of exclusive custody is super-exclusive custody.

Super-exclusive custody is considered in exceptional situations, when one of the parents is deemed inadequate for the role they should fulfill, due to incapacity or disinterest (material or moral).

Super-exclusive custody differs from exclusive custody because only one parent makes decisions concerning the children, even though it doesn't entirely deprive the non-custodial parent of their parental responsibility.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.