Child custody: What you should know

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Child custody: What you should know

Child custody is a major concern for people filing for divorce in California. While there are many topics that may be difficult to negotiate, it is often emotional agreeing on a custody arrangement. Not only is it hard for children to move from a two-parent household to a single parent living arrangement, it may be hard for you to change the amount of time you are able to spend with your kids.

The judge presiding over the case ultimately determines the arrangement based on the child’s best interests. However, each case is different depending on the specific circumstances of the situation.

Types of custody

There are two types of custody, legal and physical, which the judge can order in any combination. The judge may order sole-physical or joint-physical custody, as well as sole-legal or joint-legal custody. In many cases, the judge will award sole-physical custody to the primary caretaker of the children during the marriage. Yet, some studies show that joint-custody may be best for children, as they are able to spend a significant amount of time with both parents.

Factors to consider

There are several factors the judge will consider before making the final decision. These include the following:

  • Age of the kids
  • Ability of each parent to care for the children
  • Mental and physical health of each parent
  • Home environment of each parent
  • Which parent was the primary caretaker of the child

In addition, it is important to look at the potential quality of life the child will have if he or she lives with either parent. This includes what school district the child will attend and how far apart the parents live from one another.