Understanding the Types of Child Custody Arrangements in California

Child custody arrangements can be difficult to work out because parenting from afar is a challenge for most parents. When you go from living in the same home with a child to trying to create long-distance parenting arrangements that work for everyone, it’s not a surprise child custody is one of the biggest hurdles to¬†finalizing a divorce. Children have better outcomes when they’re in a relationship with both parents. When parents can’t agree on a custody situation that works for all parties, the decision falls to the court system.

4 Custodial Solutions Available to Parents in California

Below are the various types of child custody situations available to parents in California. While there are various types of custodial situations available to parents, California state law, like many states, defers to joint custody unless there are mitigating factors to justify sole custody.

  • Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody: Parents in California could be awarded either legal or physical custody of their minor children. The parent who is granted the role of making important decisions for their child has legal custody of the child. This parent will have the right and responsibility to make educational, healthcare, and safety choices for their children. Physical custody addresses the parent with whom the minor child resides.
  • Joint Custody vs. Sole Custody: If a couple can’t agree and come to an arrangement, the court will award joint custody, which grants equal rights to both parents. If the courts award sole custody to one parent, then that parent will serve as the primary parent for the minor child.
  • Joint Legal vs. Sole Legal Custody: Sometimes, the court can award joint legal custody, giving both parents equal decision-making rights for their minor child. When the courts award sole legal custody, they are effectively giving one parent unilateral decision-making rights for their minor child.
  • Joint Physical vs. Sole Physical Custody: Joint physical custody is the court system’s way of awarding both parents with physical custodial rights to a minor child. The child may not live with both parents an equal percentage of the time, but they will both have access to the child. Sole physical custody means the minor child lives with one parent, and the other parent usually has visitation rights.

The Importance of Working With an Attorney

Most parents want what is best for their children, even if they no longer want to continue their marriage. A divorce can leave parents unable to find middle ground as they deal with the emotions and anger the process can draw out of couples. When couples cannot agree on custody terms, the court is forced to intervene, which leaves parents vulnerable to the unpredictability of the legal system. Parents who find themselves in this position should seek legal counsel for advice and clarification on their rights. A divorce attorney can help parents navigate the challenges of a contentious custody battle.

If you think you would benefit from assistance in your case, contact the attorneys at Palmer Rodak & Associates. We can help you with your divorce and custody case in California. Call us today at (760) 573-2223 to schedule a consultation.