Kathleen J. Smith, Attorney at Law
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Which type of child custody is the right choice for your family?

California parents facing a divorce know that they have important decisions to make regarding child custody. Making life-altering decisions regarding child custody is never easy, and making the right choice will have a significant impact on your family for years to come. When faced with these difficult decisions, it can be helpful to know about the types of child custody. 

The right child custody choice for your family depends largely on the factors unique to your situation. Whether you believe you should pursue sole custody or wonder if joint custody would work for you, you would be wise to learn about the options available to you and how you can protect your family's interests.

What should you know about custody?

As you consider child custody, it is helpful to understand both legal custody and physical custody. These two factors will affect your custody arrangement, no matter what type of plan works best for your family. The differences between these two types of custody include the following:

  • What is legal custody? Legal custody refers to the authority that a parent has to make decisions on behalf of his or her child. Even in a parenting plan where the two parents are sharing physical custody, it is possible that only one parent could retain legal custody.
  • What is physical custody? Physical custody refers to the amount of time that a child spends with his or her parents. Even parents who share physical custody of their kids may not have exactly equal time.

Children do better when they have regular access to both parents, and sole custody is rare in situations where there are two supportive parents who want a strong relationship with their kids.

Many families find that joint custody is a beneficial choice for their family. However, even in a joint custody arrangement, parents will have to address both legal custody and physical custody as they work to determine the right approach for their unique family.

Don't kid around with your kids' future

Decisions pertaining to child custody are complex, and they will have an impact on your kids for years to come. When it comes to choosing the right custody plan for your family, you would be wise to think of your kids' interests above the temporary emotions you may be feeling.

Major life changes are difficult; you want to give your kids stability and security while still maintaining your relationship with them. With preparation, knowledge of your rights and options, and effective guidance, you can craft a custody plan that suits your needs and objectives.

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