What Is the Most Common Child Custody Arrangement in California?


Going through a divorce is incredibly tough, and for most couples, the biggest concern is their children. Who gets custody? Where will they live? Will they need to change schools? All these worries swirl through parents’ minds during the divorce process.

Many factors play into what custody arrangement the California court will decide on, the main one being the child’s best interests. This article discusses the types of custody agreements for divorcing parents.

Our team at Anthoor Law Group has helped many Bay Area couples traverse the obstacles of divorce and child custody laws. You can consult with our child custody lawyers to decide the best course of action for your family. Contact us today for an initial consultation.

Types of Custody

When the parents’ separation disrupts a family, the children struggle with having to readjust their lives. As parents, it’s essential to consider how to minimize this upheaval. To accommodate the children’s best interests, the court typically rules on different aspects of child custody arrangements, physical and legal custody.

Physical custody determines where the child primarily lives, deciding which parent takes on the child’s day-to-day care. Legal custody is the right to decide about more significant issues in the child’s upbringing, such as health, education, religion, and welfare.

Child custody agreements generally involve various physical and legal custody arrangements. Common types of custody arrangements are as follows:

1. Sole Custody

When a parent gets sole legal custody, they will have the exclusive ability to decide how to raise the child. The other parent may still have visitation rights, but the parent with sole legal custody has the final decision in any critical matters regarding the child.

Sole physical custody is when the child primarily lives with one parent. Both parents could still have joint legal custody of the child in this case.

2. Joint Custody

In a joint custody arrangement, both parents have the right to custody of the child. If the parents agree on joint legal custody, they will share the right to decide about the child’s upbringing. Joint physical custody means the child will go back and forth between the two parents’ houses, spending an equitable amount of time with each.

When divorced parents share both physical and legal custody, it’s called shared parenting. This method requires the two parents to get along well enough to co-parent their child despite the divorce. Research shows that shared parenting is usually the best arrangement for children whose parents have separated.

3. Split Custody

For some families with more than one child, the parents may decide on split custody. This arrangement means that each parent has primary custody of a different child. Usually, the court will not split up siblings unless there are exceptional circumstances because it is not in the children’s best interest.

Custody Arrangements in California

California’s most common child custody arrangement is sole physical custody and joint legal custody. In this scenario, one parent has primary responsibility for raising and caring for the child, but both parents retain the legal right to make decisions about them.

With the help of a child custody lawyer, you can decide what custody arrangement will work best for your child. Every family has nuances that make these decisions difficult, but a custody lawyer can be a guiding light through the process.

Factors in Deciding Custody

Every situation is different, and the intricacies of your and your child’s lives can be challenging to convey to a judge. All parents think they know what’s best for their child, but the California court insists on determining what is in the child’s best interest.

A court will take several factors into account when deciding custody:

  • The child’s age
  • The health of the child
  • The child’s ties to their parents, school, home, etc.
  • Each parent’s mental and physical health
  • Any history of physical abuse or neglect

Depending on the child’s age, the court will consider their wishes regarding the custody arrangement. If they can convey a preference, it will weigh heavily in the judge’s decision. These preferences can include an attachment to one of the parents, their school, or their neighborhood.

The court will also consider the well-being of each parent, namely the state of their physical and mental health. If there is evidence of physical abuse of the child or one of the parents, it’s sure to come up in the custody battle.

How to Find Child Custody Lawyers Near You in the Bay Area

Disagreements are rampant in a divorce, and you may end up in a tiring custody battle with your ex, each of you determined to win custody of your child. Deciding custody isn’t a contest, though, because it’s not really about the divorce or your spousal disputes—it’s about the children.

Our child custody lawyers at Anthoor Law Group in Fremont, CA, can help you find the best resolution for your family. Contact us today at (510) 794-2887 for an evaluation of your family law case.

Copyright© 2022. Anthoor Law Group, A Professional Corporation. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

Anthoor Law Group, A Professional Corporation
39210 State Street, Suite 100
Fremont, CA 94538
(510) 794-2887

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