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Legal Custody in California

What Are The Most Common Types of Custody in California?

Whether you are going through a divorce with children involved or are in the middle of a custody battle, understanding child custody in California can help you make the best decision for everyone involved. This blog will discuss legal custody and how it coincides with joint and sole custody agreements.

Legal Custody in California

What is Legal Custody?

Legal custody refers to a parent's rights, responsibilities, and authority when making child welfare decisions. In California, both parents are usually granted joint legal custody unless there are extenuating circumstances such as domestic violence or abuse.

This means that parents share the decision-making rights for their child's health, education, religious upbringing, extracurricular activities, and more. Even if a parent does not have physical custody of the child, they may retain joint legal custody with their former partner.

Sole Legal Custody in California

What is Sole Custody?

Sole custody grants one parent complete physical and legal control over a child. Meaning only one parent has the responsibility to make the following decisions regarding their child, such as:

  • Education
  • Health care
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Religious affiliation
  • Extracurricular activities

Benefits of Sole Legal Custody

For some parents experiencing turmoil in their relationship or divorce proceedings, obtaining sole custody can provide the primary parent with a sense of security and stability for themselves and their children.

It also allows them to make decisions in their children's best interests without consulting with the other parent or waiting for court-mandated mediations or meetings. Furthermore, this arrangement allows one parent to be solely responsible for all aspects of raising the child(ren) without interference from the other parent, who may not have the child's best interest at heart.

Sole Legal Custody Work with Other Forms of Custody?

While sole custody keeps the noncustodial parent away from all decisions regarding the child, that parent is still eligible to spend time with their child. If the noncustodial parent desires to be involved in their child's life, they must have a visitation agreement through the Court that grants them scheduled times to visit. However, it is not a guarantee to be given visitation rights.

Joint Legal Custody in California

What is Joint Legal Custody?

Joint legal custody in California is where parents share equal decision-making authority over major decisions concerning their child's life. In this arrangement, both parents must agree on all major decisions about the child before they can be implemented. Although both parents have an equal say in decision-making, joint legal custody does not ensure both parents have equal time with their child.

In a joint physical custody arrangement, parents regularly have equal access to the child or children, usually alternating weeks.

Benefits of Joint Legal Custody

The most significant benefit of joint legal custody is that it allows both parents to remain involved in their child's life after a divorce or separation. Having a shared responsibility for major decisions concerning their child's life gives each parent an equal say. It can ensure the best possible outcome for their family situation.

Furthermore, by sharing decision-making authority with your former partner, you don't have to worry about them making sudden changes without your knowledge or consent.

Can Joint Legal Custody Work with Other Forms of Custody?

It is possible to obtain joint legal custody while having another custodial arrangement, such as sole physical or sole legal custody. This arrangement means that while one parent may have primary physical caregiving responsibilities for the child, both parents still share equal decision-making authority over major issues such as education and medical care.

It is important to note that even if you have joint legal custodial rights with your former partner, only one parent can claim the tax exemption for their minor dependent.

Another blog you might find useful is: What Are My Parental Rights in California?

If you have further questions regarding legal custody, our experienced attorneys at Family Law San Diego are eager to help. Contact us online or give us a call to schedule an appointment. (619) 577-4900