Southern California Family Law Blog

child custody legal separation

Your child custody battle may have some effect on your child’s health. Find out why joint custody may be a better option.

In a divorce case, the toughest decisions often center on the couple’s children, and there are so many questions that must be answered. Where will they live? Which school is best for them to attend? Which parent gets the children for holidays? Even under the most amicable of separations, these questions are difficult to answer.

Child custody becomes such a challenge because parents in a divorce are grappling with these choices under several competing emotions. There is the need of a parent to ensure the safety and health of his or her children. Parents also have a desire to spend time with their children as companions. In some cases, a parent going through a divorce will want to punish the other parent by denying him or her access to their children.

What many parents may not understand is the effect on their children, who are watching their formerly happy parents wrestle with each other over who will get custody. A new study suggests that once the custody battle is over, the amount of time that children spend with each parent plays a central role in their physical, mental and emotional health.[1]

The Case for Joint Custody

The study, which appears in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, examined nearly 150,000 sixth and ninth grade students (primarily 12- and 15-year-olds) to assess how their living arrangements impact their development and health. In this study, 69 percent of the children lived with both parents in the same home; 21 percent lived with one parent with sole custody, and 10 percent lived with divorced or separated parents in an equal or near-equal joint custody arrangement.

The study concluded that children who are in divorced or separated households had fewer psychosomatic health issues – headaches, stomach issues, insomnia, concentration and focus problems, and sadness – when they spent a near-equal amount of time with each parent. Children who had rare contact with one of their parents were found to experience these problems with more frequency.

Custody Arrangements Under California Law

There are two general types of child custody under California law. First, you or your child’s other parent may be awarded Sole Legal Custody (California Family Code section 3006), which gives one parent the right and responsibility to make decisions as to the “health, education, and welfare of a child.” This means that either you or the child’s other parent will have the sole and exclusive right to choose which school your child will attend, who his or her pediatrician will be, which religion your child will practice and where your child will live.

The opposite of sole custody is Joint (or Shared) Legal Custody (California Family Code section 3003). Under this arrangement, both parents share the right to make the choices listed above. Under joint custody, parents may make decisions together, or may compromise and divide up the responsibilities if they wish. California family courts overwhelmingly prefer to issue joint legal custody orders so that both you and your former spouse remain involved in your child’s life.

Call a San Bernardino Child Custody Attorney Today

If you are in the midst of a divorce or legal separation, you should speak to an experienced and knowledgeable San Bernardino family law attorney as soon as possible. Child custody battles are among the most contentious and stressful legal battles in a divorce case, and you deserve to have the help of an attorney who has the experience to help you make the best arrangement possible for you and your child. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled and knowledgeable family law attorneys have over 30 years of experience helping clients obtain the best possible outcome in their divorce and child custody cases. If you choose Wallin & Klarich to guide you through the child custody process, you can trust that your case will be in very capable hands.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, an experienced Wallin & Klarich family law attorney is nearby no matter where you are located.

For a free, no-obligation phone consultation, call us at (888) 749-7428 today. We will be there for you when you call.


[1] Bergström, M. et. al, “Fifty moves a year: is there an association between joint physical custody and psychosomatic problems in children?,” Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, published online first, 28 April 2015.

Can I Kick My Spouse Out of the House? (Dwelling Exclusion Orders)

Dwelling Exclusion (or “kick out”) orders are orders by the judge that allow you to legally exclude your spouse or significant other from your home to gain sole possession of your home undear certain emergency circumstances. Under California Family Code 63211, if you meet certain requirements – typically in cases of domestic violence – your lawyer can go t… Continue Reading.......

How a Divorce Can Affect Your Insurance and Social Security Benefits in San Bernardino

    Typically, married couples delay making decisions about life insurance, long-term health care and how they plan to use their Social Security benefits until they approach retirement age. One of the difficult aspects about a divorce is that it upsets those things in life that we put out of our minds. The thought that you may now be forced to find a… Continue Reading.......

How are Antiques and Heirlooms Divided after Divorce?

In order to know how assets are generally divided following a divorce in San Bernardino County, it is necessary to know something about community property. Community property is a collection of all assets that are acquired during the marriage. Following divorce, property that was acquired before marriage or property that you’ve inherited is separate pr… Continue Reading.......

Joint Mortgage and Divorce in Riverside County

  A divorce can be filled with feelings of anger, spite and regret. For many, there was once the hope of building a happy life together, and now they are left with the daunting thought of how to move on without each other. One of the most important issues in the divorce process is determining how all of the property, assets and debts obtained during the marriContinue Reading.......

Child Custody Battle: Parents Disagree over Raising a Transgender Child

Parenting is one of the hardest but most rewarding jobs in the world. Unfortunately, there is not a “Universal Parenting Guidebook” that can give parents help when addressing difficult issues. Parenting together is hard enough, but when parents are embroiled in a child custody battle, the difficulty in raising a child can be unimaginable. S… Continue Reading.......

Who Owns the Unborn? Sofia Vergara and the Embryo Custody Debate

Most Hollywood breakups involve disputes over financial matters, including division of assets as well as child and spousal support issues. Occasionally, a celebrity divorce story comes along that involves more than just the typical reasons for the end of a relationship, and instead poses a unique philosophical or legal question. Such is the case with th… Continue Reading.......

The Difference Between A Legal Separation and Divorce – California Family Code 2300

In some cases, a husband and wife want to be legally separated instead of divorced. Generally, the spouses are not looking to be divorced for religious or other personal reasons. In such cases, you need a qualified California family lawyer who knows how a legal separation differs from a divorce.

What is A Legal Separation?

Legal separation proceedings can… Continue Reading.......