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.
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.
 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.