A Basic Guide to Child Custody Terminology in California
If you are involved in a child custody proceeding in California, chances are that you have been confused as to the different types of child custody. You are not alone. There is a lot of confusion as to what “custody” means and it is one of the most frequent questions that I am asked during an initial consultation.
First, there are two types of custody: Legal Custody and Physical Custody. It is important to understand the difference between the two as they have different meanings.
Here is a guide to understanding the differences between the types of child custody in California, as provided by the California Family Code §3002-3007.
WHAT IS LEGAL CUSTODY?
“Legal custody” of a child means having the right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of the child.
“Joint legal custody” means that both parents have the right and responsibility to make the decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of a child.
In contrast, “sole legal custody” means that only one parent will have the right and responsibility to make the decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of the child.
WHAT IS PHYSICAL CUSTODY?
“Physical custody” means how much time the child spends with each parent, where the child lives, and how day-to-day responsibilities are fulfilled.
“Joint physical custody” means the child spends a significant amount of time with each parent.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding child custody, it is important to speak to an experienced family law attorney to make sure that your rights and your child’s best interests are protected. Please feel free to contact our office with your questions and concerns. We would appreciate the opportunity to help address your concerns.