Child custody options in California divorce cases

Pierre Domercq Child Custody and Visitation

California couples going through a divorce may not know the options available to a judge when deciding child custody issues. When judges make a decision regarding the custody of children, they typically take a number of factors into consideration, including the child’s health, any history of abuse and other elements conducive to the general safety and welfare of the child. The judge may also take into consideration the child’s wishes provided that the child has reached a level of maturity sufficient to articulate his or her desires in a rational way. Children over the age of 14 have the right to express their opinion with regard to parental custody.
In California, there are four different types of custody from which the judge may choose: sole physical custody, which means the child lives with only one parent; sole legal custody, which means that only one parent has the power to make choices about the child’s health care, education and other major matters; joint physical custody, which means the child lives with both parents on a regular basis; and joint legal custody, which means that both parents have the legal authority to dictate choices concerning the child’s life.
If circumstances change, a child custody order can be altered as well to fit the new situation. In some cases, when both parents agree on a new order, the judge may approve it without a hearing.
When negotiating matters of custody and visitation, parents may find it helpful to individually talk to family law attorneys. This type of lawyer may provide parents with information regarding the parental rights. Moreover, the lawyer may help obtain a favorable resolution to negotiations concerning child custody and other vital issues.
Source: The State Bar of California , “What should I know about divorce and custody? “, October 20, 2014