At the termination of any marriage, child custody tends to be one of the most contested issues. From the moment you and your spouse come to the decision to divorce, the biggest concern you two may have is how this decision will affect your children. In this blog, our Orange County mediation attorney explains the various types of child custody arrangements couples can choose from.
Physical custody is perhaps the most commonly known arrangement. Parents who are granted physical custody are given the right to have the child live with him or her. There are some cases that call for joint physical custody, which involves the child living with both parents for a significant amount of time. Joint physical custody, however, will only be given to parents who are living relatively close to each other. If a court sees that parents live too far from one another, they will award just one parent with sole physical custody.
Parents who are awarded legal custody have the legal authority to make decisions regarding the child’s education, health, and general upbringing. The school the child attends, the religion he or she practices, and the medical attention or care he or she receives is up to that parent’s discretion. It’s not uncommon for courts to issue joint legal custody, which means that parents must come to an agreement on how they choose to raise their child.
A judge can award sole custody to one parent, especially in cases where it can be proven that one parent is unfit to raise a child, usually due to financial, drug, or alcohol issues. Sole custody can be granted even if both parents are fit for raising the child, but one parent has a new partner who poses a danger or threat to the child’s wellbeing – in these instances, the court will likely give sole custody to the other parent.
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