Parents who are facing child custody concerns may wonder what the different types of child custody arrangements available in California are. Knowing what different child custody options are available can help parents better anticipate their child custody and visitation schedule as they work with the other parent to develop a child custody arrangement.
There are generally two types of child custody that must be resolved between the parents with the family law court’s help. Divorcing couples are always encouraged to resolve divorce-related concerns, including child custody, themselves as much as possible but the family law court is also available to step in and help when divorcing couples are unable to work out a divorce settlement agreement on their own. During divorce parents must resolve physical and legal custody of their child and determine which parent will have each.
In addition, physical and sole custody can be either joint custody or sole custody. This means that both parents may share physical custody of the child and legal custody of the child. Physical custody of the child generally refers to which parent the child will live with. Legal custody refers to which parent will make decisions for the child including those related to their school and child care; religious upbringing and activities; mental health, counseling and therapy needs; medical and dental care; travel; extracurricular activities and vacations; and the residence where the child will live.
These are all important decisions which is why the parents and the family law court will need to develop a child custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the child. Parents should also be familiar with the different visitation options that may be available. Whatever the child custody concern parents may have, the family law system can help them address them so they can thoughtfully develop their child custody plan.