Deciding who will have custody of a child can be a difficult process, especially if the parents are no longer together. In California, there are four different types of child custody: legal custody and physical custody. In this blog post, we’ll break down each type of custody and how they differ.


To understand California custody laws, it is important to look at the factors that courts consider when determining child custody arrangements. These include: the parents’ ability to care for and provide for the child, any history of abuse or neglect by either parent, the age and health of each parent, the emotional bond between the parent and child, and the current living arrangements of each parent.

When making a decision about custody of a child, the legal standard that the court must consider above all else, is what is in the best interests of the child(ren). This means looking at factors such as which parent is most capable of providing stability for the child and creating a safe environment for them to grow up in. Courts recognize that a child’s psychological and emotional needs are as important as their physical needs and will analyze the parents’ ability to meet those needs.


Legal custody involves the right and responsibility to make major decisions about a child’s health, education, religious upbringing, extracurriculars, and welfare on behalf of the child. Physical custody refers to where the child resides. Joint legal custody gives both parents the right to make decisions about the child’s health, education, religious upbringing, extracurriculars, and welfare. Physical custody determines how much parenting time each parent has with the child. Joint physical custody may grant equal parenting time to both parents (50/50), but joint physical custody does not necessarily mean equal 50/50 parenting time. Both of these types of custodial arrangements are subject to modification based on changing circumstances, such as if one parent moves away or becomes unfit to care for the child. It is important that a qualified Family Law attorney is consulted regarding any issues involving custody disputes.

Generally speaking, when parents are unable to come to an agreement as to how legal and physical custody should be divided between them, a court will decide using the “best interest of the child” standard. A court will consider several factors when attempting to determine the best interest of the child in divorce proceedings These factors include, but are not limited to, the age and health of the child, the child’s relationship with each parent, the mental and physical health of each parent, and any safety concerns. The court will also review any history of domestic violence and/or substance abuse in either parent. Ultimately, it is the court’s responsibility to decide on an arrangement that best serves the child’s needs.

Ultimately, Family Law strives for an outcome that optimizes the welfare and protection of children in custody disputes.


Family law in California is complex, so seeking the advice of a qualified attorney is the best course of action to ensure that all relevant statutes are followed and the best interests of the child are represented. Generally, there are two types of custody arrangements available in California: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody pertains to a parent’s authority to make decisions regarding a child’s education, health, religion and other aspects of his or her life. Physical custody relates to which parent the child will live with and how much time he or she will spend with each parent. As a parent, it is to understand the concept of “joint custody” which may be either joint legal or joint physical or both.

After determining which type of custody arrangement best suits each party’s interests, it is essential to seek out a qualified legal professional who can help guide you through the court process. An experienced lawyer can explain all of your rights and options, as well as provide important advice and assistance throughout your case. It is especially important to understand the laws in California when dealing with custody matters, as they can vary significantly from other states. A qualified attorney will not only be well-versed in the California legal system, but also in the specific nuances of custody issues and how they are handled. Having an educated professional on your side can make navigating the complex court system much easier.

Finally, once you have received legal counsel and decided on a course of action, it is important to make sure all paperwork is properly completed and filed with the court. This includes all forms required by the court, including any documentation that shows both parents are in agreement about any changes or additions to a current court order or parenting plan. Thus, it is essential that all the required paperwork be properly completed and filed with the court when making any changes to a custody arrangement. It is highly advisable to seek legal counsel in order to ensure that all paperwork requesting to modify or establish custody is properly completed and filed.

If you are attempting to navigate the California family law system, and need assistance, Armada Law Corp can help. Call (510) 200-8695 to schedule a consultation.


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