August 25, 2014 By Paul Wallin

If you are getting a divorce or separation and you have a minor child with your spouse, you may be faced with the difficult prospect of dividing your time with that child with your former spouse. In California, this is called the child custody process.

Going through a child custody battle can be a frustrating time, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the complicated process. That is why you need the help of an experienced family law attorney if you are facing a child custody matter.

What is Physical Custody?

physical custody vs legal custody
Physical custody vs legal custody: how do the courts decide?

In California, there are two types of custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody involves the right to have your child physically present with you. If you are granted primary physical custody of your children, you will be responsible for their day-to-day care, including taking them to school or activities, feeding them and buying them clothes.

Physical custody can be granted solely to one parent or shared jointly between both parents. Joint physical custody is when the child resides at both parents’ homes and both parents are deemed to be custodial parents. In other words, the child will reside with each parent for a significant period of time.

To determine which parent is granted physical custody, the court uses the legal standard of what is in “the best interest of the child.” Ideally, both parents will agree on physical custody without needing the court to mandate a schedule. However, if an arrangement cannot be agreed upon, mediation is required before a judge will rule on what custody should be set in the best interest of your child.

What is Legal Custody?

Legal custody describes which parent will make major decisions regarding the care of the child and the child’s health and welfare. These decisions include what school the child should attend or how the child should receive non-emergency medical care.

Legal custody can be jointly held or solely assigned. Joint legal custody, where both parents share responsibility in making decisions for their child, is common in California. However, if the court finds that it is not in the best interest of the child to have the parents share legal custody, the court has the discretion to grant sole legal custody to one parent who can then make decisions regarding the minor child’s welfare without input from the other parent.

It is important to note that if a parent is awarded sole legal custody, this does not mean that the non-legal custodial parent will not be given visitation with the child.

The Child Custody Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are Ready to Help You

At Wallin & Klarich, we understand that going through a child custody case is difficult. The laws regarding divorce and child custody are complex and there are many factors that go into determining who will be awarded custody of your child. For this reason, it is important that you seek the assistance of an experienced family law attorney immediately. Our knowledgeable attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully helping our clients in child custody cases. Let us help you today.

With offices located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Ventura, San Diego and Sherman Oaks, our knowledgeable attorneys are available to help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (888) 749-7428 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.

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