If you are in the middle of a child custody dispute in California, it is essential to understand how this important decision is rendered, so you can better prepare. Unless you and your ex are able to agree on a custody arrangement, you will end up in court where a Judge will make a decision based on the best interests of the child. Continue reading to find out more about how child custody works in California.
Different Types of Child Custody
There are two types of custody – physical and legal. Generally, family courts believe it is in the best interests of a child for parents to share both types of custody. When a child’s parents are granted joint custody, it could mean they are sharing physical custody, legal custody, or both.
Here is how physical and legal custody are defined:
- Physical custody: This type of custody refers to where the child will live. When a child lives with one parent, whether it be primarily or exclusively, that parent is known as the custodial parent. The other parent will likely have visitation rights. If joint physical custody is granted, the child will spend an equal amount of time with both parents.
- Legal custody: This type of custody is a parent’s right to make decisions regarding the child’s education, health, and welfare. Typically, joint legal custody is granted unless the child’s parents are incapable of making decisions together or one of them is considered unfit.
The Best Interests of the Child
In the past, mothers were often favored in child custody disputes since they were viewed as primary caregivers. Today, both parents are considered equally entitled to child custody.
Child custody decisions are based on the best interests of a child, which include:
- The welfare, safety, and health of the child
- If either parent has a history of substance abuse
- If either parent has a history of abuse against the other parent or the child
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- The willingness of each parent to support the other’s relationship with the child
- Any other factors a judge may consider relevant
Modifying Child Custody
Even after a decision is rendered in a child custody case, it is possible for it to be modified to accommodate significant changes. For example, a parent may obtain a better job and have to relocate or a child may change schools, which may warrant a need to modify the custody order. A parent seeking modification made post-judgment (after final order) must show a material change of circumstance to modify the custodial orders.
Speak to an Experienced Child Custody Attorney About Your Case Today!
If you are seeking child custody, do not hesitate to reach out to the experienced team at the Law Offices of Makupson & Howard for the legal representation you need. With more than 50 years of combined experience on our side, you can rest assured your case will be in good hands with us.
Call our law office today at (888) 328-2734 to schedule an initial consultation with one of our attorneys.