A mother hugging her daughter on a park bench

Child Custody in California

Meeting a Child’s Best Interests

When parents get divorced, child custody is one of the larger decisions they have to make. How will the child or children be split up between the two parents? What type of custody will be awarded? These are difficult questions, and child custody law can be complicated. In this blog, we will discuss child custody in California, the types of child custody available in the state, and how child custody is determined.

Types of Child Custody in California

There are two types of child custody in California: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to where the child will live, while legal custody refers to who has the right to make decisions about the child's welfare, including decisions about education, healthcare, and religious upbringing.

Both of these types of child custody can be either joint or sole. Joint custody means that both parents have equal rights and responsibilities for the child. Sole custody means that only one parent is given these rights and responsibilities.

The court will always try to award joint custody if it is in the child's best interests, but there are some circumstances where sole custody may be awarded. These include when one parent has a history of abuse or neglect or if one parent is unable to provide care for the child due to drug or alcohol addiction.

Determining Child Custody in California

The court will always consider what is in the child's best interests when making a decision about child custody. Factors that the court may consider include:

  • Each parent's ability to care for the child
  • Each parent's mental and physical health

  • Each parent's history of alcohol or drug abuse

  • Any evidence of domestic violence or child abuse

  • The child's relationship with each parent and other family members

  • The child's preference, if he or she is old enough to make an informed decision (usually 12 years old or older)

  • The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community

  • Each parent's ability to provide a stable and loving home for the child

  • Each parent's ability to cooperate with each other and co-parent the child

Parenting Plans

In child custody cases, the court will order a specific parenting plan that details how time with the child will be divided between each parent. The goal of a parenting plan is to provide stability and consistency for the child. There are many different types of parenting plans and arrangements, and the best plan for your family will depend on your individual circumstances.

The first step in creating a parenting plan is to determine which type of custody arrangement is best for your family. Once you have determined which type of custody arrangement is best for your family, you can begin creating a parenting plan that includes a schedule for the child's time with each parent. A typical schedule includes time for school, extracurricular activities, holidays, and vacations. You should also include provisions for how you will handle child-rearing disagreements and changes to the schedule in your parenting plan.

Creating a parenting plan can be a difficult process, but it is important to remember that the goal is to create a plan that is best for your child. If you are having difficulty creating a parenting plan, you may want to consider hiring a mediator or attorney to help you through the process.

Mediating Child Custody

If you are going through a child custody case in California, mediation may be the best method of achieving a peaceful solution. Mediation can help keep discussions civil between you and your spouse which, in turn, can help your children manage their feelings throughout the process. At Alternative Divorce Solutions, our mediators understand how important child custody is and the emotions that can come with making such a decision. We are committed to helping our clients find solutions that meet everyone's needs.

Learn more or schedule a consultation by calling (949) 558-2624 or by visiting our website.