Discover the Two Types of Child Custody in California: Physical and Legal

Posted on: October 16, 2019

Discover the Two Types of Child Custody in California: Physical and Legal

Parents who are splitting up or are having a child together but do not live together may need to find the right custody arrangement for their needs. It is important to know that this includes two types of custody: Physical and legal. Keep reading to learn more and then contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 if you are in need of a free legal consultation.

Understanding Legal Custody

Legal custody is the type of custody in which a parent is able to make legal decisions about the child and their well-being. For example, they can have a say in what religion the child is being brought up in, their education, their medical care, and more. Both parents can have joint legal custody in which both parents have equal rights in making decisions for their children.

There can also be sole legal custody in which only one parent can make decisions about these things. This parent will make all decisions about how and when the child gets medical dental care, where the child attends school, any mental health treatment or counseling they will receive, where the child will live, and much more.

Understanding Physical Custody

Physical custody involves where the child physically spends their time and who they live with. In California, there are two options: Joint or sole. Joint custody involves the child living with both parents some of the time while sole custody assigns custody to just one parent though child visitation may still be allowed.

While in some cases joint custody involves an exact 50% split, in most cases there will be a “primary” custodial parent who has the child more than the other. Note as well that getting joint legal custody does not automatically mean that joint physical custody will be awarded. It is actually fairly common for a judge to give both parents the right to make decisions for the child but to give custody to just one parent. The one that does not have the child living with them will likely have visitation, pay child support, and have some say in the child’s rearing.

Custody and Child Support

Many parents who are about to go through the process of deciding on physical and/or legal custody wonder if there is a link between who the child lives with and who pays child support. The answer is that in most cases, yes. This is because the primary parent is the one who is going to be paying for the majority of the child’s costs including housing, food, school, clothing, etc.

If you and your child’s co-parent get along and can compromise on custody and support then you can create your own agreement. This is the best-case scenario but you should still have an attorney to protect your interests. If compromise cannot be achieved then you may need to go to family court. You can reach Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for help.