There are various types of child custody in California that are usually prompted by contested divorces. Often when parents can’t agree on custody, the matter has to be litigated to ensure that the children’s best interests are protected. An important note to bear in mind is that California now allows more consideration for the child’s preference since the implementation of Family Code section 3042 in 2012. California has two types of custody, namely physical and legal custody, and parents will be awarded either sole or joint custody rights.

Physical Custody 

This custody dictates where children live and when, and under which circumstances they get to spend time with their parents.  

Legal Custody 

This type of custody relates to the right to make decisions that affect your children’s wellbeing. These decisions can include the child’s education, health and activities.

Sole Custody 

  • Sole physical custody gives one parent the right to be the child’s primary caretaker, while the other parent might be allowed visitation rights. 
  • Sole legal custody will award this right to only one of the parents but is not popular in California – unless the parent who does not have custody has a record of misconduct or has abandoned their child, and the court believes that that parent has lost the right to be involved in big decisions pertaining to the child’s best interests.  

Joint Custody 

  • Joint physical custody gives parents 50/50 control overseeing their child.
  • Joint legal custody stipulates that both parents need to be involved in making important decisions in their children’s life. 

California custody laws want to see both parents have custody over their children and encourage good communication between parents to achieve this. The court will, however, base its decision on what it believes to be in the best interest of a child. 

If you need representation to get child custody in California, contact Westover Law Group for a dedicated and reputable Certified Family Law Specialist to assist you.