Child Custody in California Divorce and Paternity

There are different types of child custody in a divorce or paternity action.

First, we’ll look at actual child custody. There are two components: legal custody and physical custody.

Physical Custody vs. Legal Custody

Physical custody is the type of custody order that says who is going to have the child and at what time. Most of the time, the courts grant Joint Physical Custody with primary either to mom or dad. Sometimes, though, sole physical custody will be granted to one party and visitation may or may not be granted to the other.

Legal custody is the ability to make decisions for the child. This includes everything from choosing the school they attend to the authority to cut their hair. Again, in most cases, joint legal custody is granted and both parents have the ability to make decisions. This means that if they disagree on issues like what religion the child will be raised in, they must go to court to settle it. In a limited number of cases, the Judge will decide that one party should have sole legal custody.

Child Custody

Child Custody and Visitation in Divorce and Paternity Cases

The next type of child custody order involves visitation. Unsupervised visitation is normal visitation and generally includes overnight visits if appropriate. In the vast majority of cases, unsupervised visitation is ordered.

In cases where there are allegations or proof of abuse (sexual, physical, or emotional), supervised visitation may be ordered. Supervised visitation requires that a monitor be present during the entire visit. Sometimes a relative or friend of the non-custodial parent qualifies as a monitor. Other times a neutral, professional monitor must be hired.

Then there are cases where no visitation is allowed because the court determines that any contact with the party would be harmful to the child.

The family law court assumes that a generous amount of time spent with both parents will minimize the impact of the effects of divorce on children. The various types of custody orders take into account that this assumption is not always correct.

If you have questions about child custody law, give attorney Julian Fox a call at 877-369-5294 today.