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California Family Law
California Family Code mandates that courts must make proper decisions pertaining to a child's custody. Child custody is legal and physical guardianship over a child by a parent(s). When awarding child custody, the state of California will consider the child's safety and well being, and continuing parental contact.

Safety & Well Being
The court's foremost concern is the child's safety, well being, and health. When considering these issues, the court will evaluate the security and resources each parent can provide. The court will also review any incidents of child abuse or domestic violence.

Continuing Contact
In California, the court will also make sure that each parent continues to have contact with the child. Each parent is encouraged to assist with raising and taking responsibility for the child, despite their divorce.

Other things the court may consider when determining child custody are:

  • The child's age.
  • The emotional bond between the parent and child.
  • The parent's lifestyle.
  • The child's daily routine.
  • The child's custodial preference, if above the age of 12.

Types of Custody

The state of California may grant a sole custody order, joint custody order, or non-parent custody order.

Sole Custody Orders

Exclusive Custody: grants one parent exclusive legal and physical custody of the child.

Sole Physical Custody: grants one parent physical custody of the child. The child will reside with the custodial parent, but the custodial parent does not have sole decision making authority unless awarded legal custody as well.

Sole Legal Custody: grants one parent legal custody over the decisions related to the child's well being, health, and education. The child does not reside with this parent unless the parent has physical custody as well.

Joint Custody Orders

Pure Joint Custody: Neither parent is granted physical or legal custody of the child. Both parents share the supervision and physical presence of the child.

Joint Legal Custody: Both parents share responsibility while making decisions pertaining to the child's well being, health, and education.

Joint Physical Custody: Both parents share the physical presence of the child for specific, outlined lengths of time.

Divided Custody: When several children are involved, different custodial terms may apply for each child and parent. However, both parents may have visitation rights to a non-custodial child.

Non-parent Custody

Custody of a child can be awarded to someone who is not the child's parent. The non-parent will have care and control of the child. Sometimes, the parent may be allowed visitation rights.

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