Hello, I’m Anna Maples, Attorney with the Family Advocacy Center. And today, I want to talk about child custody in California. Child custody is one of the issues that is resolved during the dissolution of marriage proceedings. However, child custody can also be resolved between the parents that are not legally married.

There are two types of child custody in California; legal and physical. Legal custody allows parents to make decisions regarding their children’s health, education, and welfare. Physical custody determines where the children will reside. Legal custody can be joint or solo. Joint legal custody means that both parents will make decisions regarding their children’s education, health, and welfare. Sole legal custody means that only one parent will be responsible for making those decisions.

Physical custody can be shared, primary, or solo. Shared physical custody means that the children will spend equal amount of time in both parents’ homes. Primary physical custody means that the children will reside with one parent and will have visits with the other parent. Sole physical custody means that the children will reside with one parent and will have limited or no visits with the other parent.

The court uses the Best Interest of the Child Rule when it determines legal, and physical custody arrangements. Factors used to determine the best interest of the child are health, safety, and welfare of the child, spousal and child abuse, the nature and the amount of contacts between the child and the parents, drug and alcohol abuse, and any other factors that are relevant to your case.

Remember, you can reach a mutual agreement with the other parent regarding child custody arrangements. If not, the court will decide the issue. At the Family Advocacy Center, we are here to help you either reach a mutual agreement or represent your legal interests in the Family Court.

Attorney Anna Y. Maples
Family Advocacy Center