What is Joint Physical & Legal Custody?

What is Joint Physical & Legal Custody?

Making a custody decision can be a difficult process for parents and can involve a lot of legal complexities. If you are a parent going through the process of determining custody in California, it's crucial to understand the differences between joint physical & legal custody.

Knowing what these terms - Joint legal custody & joint physical custody mean and how they can affect a child custody arrangement is essential for any parent involved in a child custody dispute.

Child Custody In California

Child custody in California is determined according to the best interests of the child. This means that a judge will evaluate each case on its own merits and make a determination of what is best for the child in question.

The court will look at several different factors to make a decision, including the health and safety of the child, the age and maturity level of the child, & the wishes of the child/children if they are old enough to express them.

In addition, the court will also consider any domestic violence that may have occurred between the parents, as well as other social and financial factors. Ultimately, the judge will decide which type of custody arrangement is in the child/children's best interest.


How To Determine Child Custody In California

1. Understand the types of child custody available in California.

2. Consult a seasoned family law attorney

3. Consider the factors used to determine child custody, such as which parent is best suited to provide the child with a stable home and environment.

4. File a petition(custody case) for child custody in the county court where the child resides.

5. Attend mediation or dispute resolution sessions to try to come to a genuine agreement with the other parent.

6. File court documents and attend hearings related to the child custody case.

7. Submit evidence that demonstrates why a particular parent should have custody.

8. Be prepared to present a parenting plan at trial.

9. Follow the court's decision regarding child custody.

Types Of Child Custody

When it actually comes to child custody in California, there are two primary types of custody that a court may award: physical & legal. Physical custody refers to the parent who will provide a home for the child, as well as make major decisions regarding their upbringing.

Legal custody is the right of a parent to make decisions regarding the child's education, health care, religion, and other important matters. When awarding custody, the court may award either sole or joint custody. In a sole custody arrangement, one parent will have physical and legal custody rights.

If a court grants joint custody, both parents share physical and legal custody rights. Joint physical custody actually means that the child spends a significant amount(may not be 50/50) of time with each parent. While joint legal custody gives both parents equal rights to make crucial decisions on behalf of the child/children.

It's crucial to note that joint custody doesn't necessarily mean that the child will spend an equal amount of time with each parent.

What Is Joint Physical Custody?

Joint physical custody in California is when both parents have equal rights and responsibilities to provide physical care for their child. With this form of custody, the child usually lives with each parent on an alternating basis. Joint

physical custody can be ordered by the court or agreed upon by the parents outside of court.

In joint physical custody, both parents are expected to participate in their child's upbringing and be responsible for decisions relating to their health, education, and wellbeing. Parents who share physical custody typically make decisions about their child together and also need to consult each other if either parent wants to move away from the area.

In California, joint physical custody can be awarded on a temporary basis, or it can be made permanent with a formal court order. When making a joint physical custody arrangement in California, the court will consider the child's best interests.

This includes looking at essential & vital factors such as the child's age, relationship with each parent, ability to adjust to change, the distance between parents' homes, work schedules, and more.

The court may also consider any history of domestic violence between the parents. Ultimately, the goal is to create a custody plan that ensures the child has access to both parents and enjoys stability in his or her home environment.

What Is Legal Custody?

Legal custody in California is the right of a parent to make decisions about their child's medical care, education, and other significant life choices. The term - "legal custody" can be truly used interchangeably with -

"decision-making custody" or "parental responsibility."

This type of custody may be shared jointly or awarded to one parent exclusively. When both parents are awarded legal custody, they must communicate and work together to decide what is best for their child. Even if joint legal custody is awarded, one parent may have the final say in certain matters, such as religious upbringing.

If a single parent is awarded legal custody, they will have full decision-making authority on all matters relating to the child. In any case, the court must

consider what is in the child/children's best interest when deciding who should have legal custody.

The court considers many factors, such as each parent's mental health and the child's relationship with each parent. If you have questions about legal custody in California, it is crucial to speak with an experienced family law attorney who can help you understand your rights, obligations & guide you through the process.

Factors Considered When Determining Child Custody In California

• The child/children's best interest:- The court must consider the child's best interest in making a custody determination.

• Health, safety & welfare:- The court will consider the child's physical and emotional health, safety & welfare when deciding custody.

• Child's relationships:- The court may consider the child's relationships with each parent, siblings & other crucial people in the child's life.

• Parental capability:- The court will examine both parents to determine who is better able to provide for the child's emotional and physical needs.

• Wishes of the child:- In certain circumstances, the court may take into consideration the wishes of a child over a certain age.

• Prior custodial history:- The court may also look at the custodial history of both parents and which parent has been primarily responsible for the care of the child.

• Domestic violence:- When awarding custody, the court must take into consideration any credible evidence of domestic violence or abuse.

• Mental health:- The mental health of both parents will be taken into account when deciding who is better suited to have custody of the child.

Can You Modify Child Custody Orders In California?

It is truly possible to modify a child custody order in California as circumstances change over time. A modification may be necessary if the current order does not meet the needs of the child or if a parent wants to move away from the county.

When it comes to modifying a custody order, the court will only consider changes that are in the best interest of the child. The court may consider things like a parent's health and lifestyle changes, changes in employment, or other factors that could impact the child's welfare.

If one parent is seeking a modification, they must present evidence of a substantial change in circumstance before the court grants the request. To successfully modify an existing child custody order, both parents should review the current order and all relevant legal documents.

They should also consult with an experienced family law attorney who can review their case and determine if they have grounds to make a modification. Additionally, parents should be prepared to discuss why the proposed modification is in their child's best interest.

If approved, a court order outlining the new custody arrangement must be created and agreed upon by both parents. It is crucial for both parents to adhere to any court orders concerning modifications to ensure that their rights are protected and that their children are being taken care of properly.

Wrapping Up 

Child custody matters can be complicated and emotionally charged, so it is critical to understand the laws & processes involved. In California, child custody is typically determined through negotiations between the parents or by court order.

When deciding custody, the court considers many factors, including each parent's physical and mental health, the relationship between each parent and the child, and the preference of the child, if they are old(& mature) enough to express an opinion.

Joint legal custody signifies that both parents will be involved in making decisions for the child, while joint physical custody gives both parents equal

access to the child. This does not really mean that the child will spend exactly the same amount of time with each parent.

But rather, it means each parent will have significant time with their child. Finally, once a child custody order has been established, it can be modified if necessary. A modification is only possible if there has been a genuine & substantial change in circumstances since the original order was issued.

If you are facing a dispute over child custody in Orange County or anywhere in California, you should seek experienced legal advice to protect your rights & interests.

Jos Family Law