Child custody is based on defining who will get to make legal decisions regarding a child. These decisions can pertain to where they will go to school, what kind of healthcare they will receive, whether they will undergo certain healthcare procedures, what religion they will practice, and what their living situation will be.
When it comes to divorce, parents may be in disagreement about which spouse should be making these decisions for each child, and it could lead to child custody decisions being made in family court. If the spouses are able to reach a consensus via negotiation or a collaborative divorce process, they can avoid having to go to court.
Having an understanding of how the different custody arrangements function can help you decide what is right for your family.
Physical custody is the kind of custody that dictates who the children will be living with each day. This can include the main house that the child will be living at and what the parenting schedule will look like.
Legal custody is the type of custody that determines who will be making critical decisions regarding the life of the child, including their religion and education. This includes other important factors, such as what medical procedures they can undergo and how much screen time they are allotted each day.
In sole custody, only one of the spouses will have both physical custody and legal custody over the child. Not only will they be making legal decisions for the child, but they will also have the right to raise the child with them in the same physical location.
A joint custody arrangement means that each parent will jointly share legal custody. Together they will make important decisions regarding the child’s life, and the child’s time physically spent with each parent will be equally split between the two.
Understanding these different kinds of custody in California can help you to strategize and make the most optimal plans for your children moving forward. An Orange County child custody attorney can help you with this.
In the Tustin, CA court system, know that all decisions regarding child custody will always be made in the best interest of the child involved. Sometimes, what you believe will be in your children’s best interests isn’t what the courts will believe. Because of this, it’s important to have an experienced attorney guide you. If your case goes to family court, the judge will take the following considerations into account:
- The age of the child. The court will consider what is best for the child based on their age.
- The health of the child. If the child has any specific or urgent health conditions, the court will take this into account.
- The child-parent relationship. The family court will take into account how the child feels about each parent and the emotional attachment to them, as well as what the relationship is like.
- The capability of each parent to provide. It will be considered how well each parent can support each child emotionally, how much they can aid in development, and how well they can help meet physical needs, such as meals, clothing, and school supplies. Above all, the court will evaluate the capability of each parent to create a stable and healthy environment at home.
- The criminal and abuse history of the parents. If one of the parents has a history of neglecting the needs of the child or abusing them emotionally or physically, the court will consider restricting their custody.
- The desires of the child. The court will try to take into account who the child wants to live with, especially if they are of the appropriate age.
When determining child custody cases, the court will take all of these factors into account. They will also consider anything else that may have an impact on the well-being of the child, such as whether there are siblings and if the parents get along with each other.