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What types of child custody are there in California?

Parents in California who divorce may have a lot of concerns when it comes to raising their child post-divorce. Not only may they be concerned about the child's well-being, but they also may be concerned about how much time they will spend with the child and what their rights to the child will be moving forward.

In California, there are two types of child custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody entails the ability to make significant life choices on behalf of the child. Some examples of these decisions are which doctors the child will see, what religion the child will practice and where the child will go to school, among others. Physical custody refers to where the child will live on a daily basis.

To break it down further, there are two types of legal custody. In joint legal custody situations, each parent has the ability to make significant life choices on behalf of the child. Since disagreements about these issues may need to be resolved in court, it may be beneficial for parents to come to work together to make these decisions. In sole legal custody situations, only one parent has the ability to make these decisions.

In addition, there are two types of physical custody. In joint physical custody situations, the child will reside with each parent some of the time, although it may not be an exact 50/50 split. In sole physical custody situations, the child will primarily reside with one parent, and the other parent will have visitation rights.

As this shows, there are many aspects to consider when it comes to child custody. In the end, it is important that any custody decisions made are in the best interests of the child. By putting the child's needs first, parents can help their child weather the divorce as best as possible, setting the groundwork for future cooperation.

Source:, "Basics of Custody & Visitation Orders," Accessed July 18, 2017

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