Kathleen J. Smith, Attorney at Law

Different types of child custody and your parental rights

When two California parents divorce, one of their main concerns remains the best interests of your kids. You may have serious concerns about how your choices will affect your kids, but there are ways that you can protect their emotional health and provide stability well into the future. This is possible with a thoughtful, intentional and kid-focused parenting plan.

If you want to craft a smart parenting plan or fight for a reasonable custody plan in court, this starts by understanding the different types of child custody. This will help you move forward with a plan that makes sense for your family while protecting your parental rights. The decisions made during divorce will affect your family for years to come, and the ultimate goal is to protect the best interests of the children above all else.

What type of custody works best?

Every family is different, and the best type of custody plan will depend on the needs of your family, your kids, work schedules of both parents and more. Many courts now favor joint custody, but this is not necessarily a true 50-50 split of parenting time and responsibilities. It may help you to understand the following information about the different types of child custody:

  • Physical custody refers to the actual time a child will spend with a parent. It is optimal to allow a child to have access to both parents on a regular basis.
  • Legal custody refers to the right of one or both parents to make important decisions for their children, such as those related to religious upbringing, medical care and more.

Joint custody is when parents share legal and physical custody, but this may differ from family to family. For example, a family may have a joint custody arrangement, but one parent may retain full legal custody. There is no one-size-fits-all joint custody formula, or for any other type of custody arrangement.

The right choices for your family

Your children deserve a strong and secure future. You can provide this for them by seeking a child custody arrangement that is best for their future interests. This may mean that you have to set aside your own emotions and desires and work for what is in their interests above all else. Before you agree to the terms of any custody arrangement, you will find it beneficial to seek the guidance of an experienced family law attorney.

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