In child custody cases, the family court has to determine whether joint or sole custody would be in the best interests of the child. Unfortunately, many parents do not understand the differences between the two types of custody, which can lead to them being unprepared in court. Before filing for custody, here is what you need to know about having joint and sole custody of a child in California.
Types of Custody
In California, there are two types of custody - legal and physical custody:
Legal Custody: Determines who makes important decisions for the child’s health and wellbeing.
Physical Custody: Determines where the child lives.
Parents with legal and physical custody can either have joint or sole custody.
What Is Joint Custody?
Joint custody is often ordered in custodial matters because it helps to ensure that both parents are involved in a child's life. In a joint custody situation, both parents could have legal custody where they make decisions about the child's housing, education, and medical care. If physical custody is joint, then both parents share the responsibility of housing the child.
What Is Sole Custody?
Sole custody means only one parent has parenting rights. Sole legal custody gives one parent the right and responsibility to make decisions for the child. On the other hand, sole physical custody means the child only lives with one parent. However, the other parent will often have visitation rights to the child.
Which is Best?
Every situation is different, but depending on the circumstances joint or sole custody might be better. Generally, it’s always best for a child to have a relationship with both parents. The only exception is if by having a relationship with one parent would put the child in danger mentally or physically, would it be best for a parent to file sole custody.
Speak to a Pasadena Divorce Attorney Today
There can be a combination of these types of custody orders depending on what is best for the child. Due to the complex nature of child custody, it is best to confer with a family law firm, like the Law Offices of Donald P. Schweitzer. An experienced attorney will help you to understand the differences between joint and legal custody and assist with determining which is the best option for your child.
Call us today at (626) 788-5225 to learn about your Pasadena child custody options.