In California, there are two types of custody: “legal” and “physical.” Parents are encouraged to share both types of custody wherever possible. Divorcing parents need to figure out who will make decisions about their children’s care, where their children will live, and when each parent will spend time with the children. When parents can’t agree, courts will need to make the decisions for them, and a judge will issue orders regarding legal custody, physical custody, and visitation.
Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions about the child’s welfare, including education, medical care, and religious upbringing. The court may order joint legal custody, where both parents have an equal right to make these decisions, or sole legal custody, so that only one parent has the right to make all or some of these decisions.
In addition to legal custody, the court will make orders for physical custody. Physical custody involves where the children live and who will be responsible for daily child care. The court can order joint physical custody among both parents or sole physical custody to one parent.
An order for joint physical custody, sometimes called “shared custody,” means that the children live with both parents almost equally and according to a set schedule. Both parents have significant periods of physical custody. If a child’s time is divided equally between the parents, or close to equally, the parents are sharing joint physical custody.
An order for sole physical custody means that the children live mostly with one parent and that parent is responsible for the day-to-day care of the children, subject to the court’s authority to order visitation time with the other parent.
When one parent has sole physical custody, the other parent – sometimes referred to as the “non-custodial parent”- still has the right to “visitation” (the right to spend time with the children), except in extreme cases where it would not be in the children’s best interest. For example, in some cases of extreme abuse and/or neglect, a court may deny any and all visitation time with the children.
If you have a question regarding Family Law in Los Angeles County please contact us at (818) 926-4420 or visit the Family Law section on our website at Law Offices of Anat Resnik. Call today and we will connect you with Anat Resnik, an experienced, aggressive, affordable Divorce and Family Law Attorney in Los Angeles County. After you have spoken with our Los Angeles County Family Law attorney, we can schedule you a free face to face appointment to discuss your circumstances. If you have questions or are considering any aspect of filing for Divorce, a Paternity issues, Child Custody and Visitation, Spousal Support & Alimony, etc. we can help! Call us now at(818) 926-4420. We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you with any and all family law needs.