What Are The Types Of Child Custody In California?

Who Gets Time, Visitation, And Decision-Making Power Under California Family Code

Children depend on their parents for care, education, security, and health. Hence, why custody is a crucial aspect of divorce. The goal is to ensure that a child gets their needs met even though their parents are legally and physically separated.


That said, not all marriages, family relationships, and financial statuses are the same. There can be various stipulations as to which parent gets the most time with the child and which decides for the child's well-being to ensure a dependent child can grow and be cared for.

So, let's look at the types of child custody arrangements in California, as experienced by a prescreened Los Angeles Child Custody Attorney.


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Legal Vs. Physical Custody

Legal custody and physical custody are treated differently under California law. As a result, the courts highly advise parents to come to a mutually agreeable plan for joint custody that covers both physical and legal aspects. In California, judges always assume shared custody is in the child's best interests.


Physical Custody

The parent with whom the child or children live has physical custody. In California, the most typical custody arrangement is for one parent to have sole physical custody while the other parent shares legal custody and has flexible visitation rights.


Parents typically negotiate visiting schedules for the noncustodial parent. Cases of neglect or abuse are some exceptions to this rule. In some situations, one parent might have sole physical custody. In contrast, the other has visiting rights with restrictions, such as supervised visitation, and little or no visitation.


Parents may divide physical custody so that their children spend one week with each parent every other week. Additionally, they can rotate every other day of the week using an alternating schedule. To prevent the child from spending extended periods apart from either parent, this custody arrangement is frequently chosen by parents of young children.


However, it's always best to have a Los Angeles Child Custody Lawyer review the stipulations of these custody arrangements first and help you negotiate what's better for your child's well-being.


Legal Custody


Legal child custody in California refers to a parent's power to make decisions on a child's behalf, including their health and well-being, education, childcare, religious upbringing, and travel restrictions. Parents may choose joint legal custody for both parents to participate in critical choices affecting the child's health and well-being.


Parents who disagree on these crucial matters may need to turn to mediation or a judge to settle their differences. When this happens, you should have a Family Law Attorney in Los Angeles to help you work through the next crucial steps.


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Joint Vs. Sole Custody


Aside from the types of child custody in California mentioned above, other types dictate whether both parents are allowed to raise a child, or only one of them should be.

Let's look at the main differences and the various categories under joint and sole custody arrangements in California:

Joint Custody In California

Even after a divorce or legal separation, family law courts in California tend to favor child custody arrangements that allow both parents to participate actively in their child's development. Joint custody or shared custody are used to describe this type of custody arrangement.


That said, certain factors differ in one joint custody from the other. Here's how they're categorized:


1. Joint Custody

Equal authority for a child's monitoring and decision-making rests with both parents. They share joint legal and physical custody.


2. Joint Physical Custody

Physical custody of the child is given to both parents for sizable periods. While the decree may not always allocate time evenly, this sort of custody ensures that the kid gets ongoing and frequent contact with both parents.


3. Joint Legal Custody

Both parents are responsible for critical decisions affecting the child's welfare, education, and health. For example, a secondary decision could decide on physical custody.


4. Split Custody

Each parent has custody of the same child for specific limited periods, and the parents have visiting rights. Legal custody may be shared amongst children, but parents can still provide noncustodial child visitation privileges.


Sole Custody In California


Unfortunately, there are situations where one parent is unfit to raise the child because of a criminal record that includes violent offenses, domestic violence, drunkenness, drug addiction, or mental instability. If this is the situation, you must be able to convince the judge of the reasons why you should be given sole custody of your child.


That said, unless there are any glaring reasons to pursue sole custody, it could be very challenging to be awarded sole custody. Family law judges typically prefer joint or shared custody arrangements between parents wherever feasible. You should always consult your Child Custody Attorney in Los Angeles to ensure you get what's best for your child.


The three types of sole custody are as follows:

1. Exclusive Custody

Legal and physical custody of the child are granted to the parent by this decree. The parent with sole legal custody of the child is also entitled to make all decisions regarding the child's upbringing, including the child's residence and decisions affecting their education, well-being, and general welfare.

2. Sole Physical Custody

This order gives the custodial parent the only authority to decide where the child will live and how they will have cared for daily. Still, it does not give them the sole authority to make crucial decisions for the child.


3. Sole Legal Custody

A California judge may give one parent sole custody of the child without giving that parent sole control over the child's upbringing and housing. Instead, the decision-making authority over the child's education, well-being, and general welfare rests with the custodial parent.

If you have any concerns regarding the process of getting awarded sole custody, consult with a prescreened Los Angeles Family Lawyer.


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