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California parents understand how difficult it is to deal with matters pertaining to child custody during divorce. Even two parents who resolve to work amicably and respectfully together on a joint custody plan may find these issues complex and sensitive. It is helpful for parents facing divorce to understand the different types of child custody.

When it comes to your relationship with your children and your parental rights, it can be beneficial to understand as much as possible about how custody works. Custody arrangements differ on a case-by-case basis. The right type of custody plan for your family depends on the needs of your children and other factors.

Important factors of child custody arrangements

The ultimate goal of any child custody arrangement is to protect the interests of the children above all else. Many parents find it is most beneficial for their children to share parenting time through a joint custody arrangement. This allows the kids regular access to both parents, which is good for their stability and peace of mind.

However, whether you opt to co-parent, seek sole custody or request joint custody, there are two types of child custody, legal custody and physical custody, that will impact your arrangement. The differences between these types of custody are as follows:

  • Physical custody refers to the amount of time you will have with your child. Parenting time includes weekday and weekend visitation, holiday visitation, vacations, summer break and more.
  • Legal custody is the right that one or both parents have to make important decisions on behalf of the child. This could include choices regarding education, religious upbringing and more.

Any type of custody arrangement will address both legal rights and the amount of parenting time you will have. In true joint custody arrangements, parents may share both legal and physical custody. Your custody rights will depend on what is best for your children as decided by the court or by you and the other parent through negotiations and discussions.

Protecting your relationship with your children

As a parent, your primary concern is to protect your relationship with your children and their needs above all else. One way to do this is to work to understand child custody and how you can protect your rights as a parent. When the future of your family is on the line, it is beneficial to seek guidance as soon as possible regarding the legal options available to you.