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The types of child custody in California

When a married couple decides that they want to undergo a divorce, child custody is a common topic that is addressed by the family law judge. California is one state that has two main types of custody orders that a judge can enact. These include legal child custody and physical child custody.

What is legal child custody?

Legal child custody is what most people think of when they hear about a parent being awarded primary child custody. Under legal child custody, a parent is entitled to make important decisions regarding their child. These decisions are for things like healthcare, welfare and education. Legal custody can be awarded to one parent or both parents can share joint legal custody of the child.

One common misconception that some parents have about joint legal custody is that they must agree on all important decisions. In reality, either parent is legally able to make important decisions regarding their child’s well-being, such as their religious activities or the types of sports that they get involved in. However, it’s always advisable to try and reach a compromise between the joint parents to ensure cooperation on both parts.

What is physical child custody?

In the state of California, physical child custody means that the child is living with that person. Physical custody can be granted to solely one parent or jointly to both parents. In the cases of joint physical custody, the child may live with one parent more than the other. In other cases, the child may spend an equal amount of time with both parents. In the event that one parent does spend more time with a child, that parent is considered the primary custodial parent.

As you enter the family law court to discuss the custody of your children, it’s important to understand the different types that are out there. In the state of California, there are two main types of custody, which are physical custody and legal custody. It’s advisable to understand what type of custody you’re looking to get so you can share your wishes with the judge accordingly.

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