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Brandon Law Group
Specializing In Family Law Litigation And Mediation

What is legal custody and can it be shared jointly in California?

There are two forms of child custody that California parents must address when they choose to end their marital relationship through divorce. The first is physical custody. This form of child custody involves where the child will reside and if the child will have visitation time with the parent who does not have physical custody of them. The second type of child custody is legal custody. This form of child custody is often shared between divorced parents, so that each may have an active voice in the decision-making processes of raising their child.

Legal custody grants a parent the right to be involved in and have their voice heard when making important decisions about their children's upbringing. For example, a parent with legal custody of their child can oppose the other parent's wishes to raise their child in a particular faith system or may advocate for enrolling their child in a particular school that they believe will serve their child's best interests.

Without legal custody rights, a parent must remain relatively silent when it comes to the big decisions that will affect their child's life. They may not be able to put forth their concerns over medical treatment that the child requires or influence decisions about the child's involvement in certain activities.

Legal custody is an important right for parents of minor children, and decisions as to whether one parent will retain legal custody or both will share it are made by the court hearing the family's child custody case. Those parents who fear that their legal custodial rights are not being honored by their former partners may wish to consult with family law attorney about their options for ensuring their child's interests are being honored.

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