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What Is the Most Common Child Custody Arrangement in California?

Divorce, even when necessary, causes much upheaval and emotional distress. It is even more challenging for couples with minor children who must agree on critical matters concerning their children. Who gets custody? Where will they live? Will they need to change schools?

Are these harrowing questions swirling through your mind? If you are in this situation, we understand how overwhelming it can be. As experienced child custody attorneys, we know the law’s complexities and can help guide you through these vital decisions. We have helped many Bay Area families navigate California’s divorce and custody laws to find a resolution. Reach out to our team at Anthoor Law Group at (510) 794-2887 to schedule an evaluation of your case. We are invested in getting the best results for our clients.

Types of Custody

In California, multiple factors determine the Court’s decision about a divorcing couple’s custody arrangement, although the primary consideration is the child's best interest. When the parents’ separation disrupts a family, the children struggle with having to readjust their lives. As parents, it is essential to minimize this upheaval. To accommodate the children’s best interests, the Court typically rules on different aspects of custody arrangements and physical and legal custody.

Physical custody determines where the child primarily lives, determining 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 include:

1. Sole Custody

When a parent receives 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 is the final decision-maker in critical matters regarding the child.

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

2. Joint Custody

In a joint custody arrangement, both parents have custody rights to the child. If they 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 is 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

Parents may decide on split custody for some families with more than one child. 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 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 lives can be challenging to convey to a judge. All parents think they know what’s best for their children, but the Court insists on determining what is in the child’s best interest.

The Court will take several factors into account when deciding custody:

  • The child’s age
  • The child’s health
  • 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 will come up in the custody battle.

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

Divorce is fraught with disagreements. When it involves minor children, you could face an exhausting custody battle with your ex-partner as you fight to win custody of your child. Regardless of your feelings, you must remember that custody is not a contest between you and your former spouse. Instead, it is about putting your children first.

Our multilingual law firm offers family law and estate planning to a diverse set of clients in Alameda County and the Bay Area. Our child custody lawyers at Anthoor Law Group can help you find the best resolution for your family. Contact us today at (510) 794-2887 or fill out our online form 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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