There are may “legal” terms used in a California court when custody orders are issued for the parents’ children. And most often, parents do not understand what these terms mean or what was ordered.
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Child Custody Terms
In California, there are many child custody terms which can be used for child custody or child support orders. Often, when clients first encounter these terms, they become confused or are misled about the type of custody they or the other parent actually have.
Legal custody is a parent’s right to make major decisions about a child’s welfare, health, and education. This child custody terms deals exclusively with the parents right to make decisions for the child’s well-being. Examples of these types of decisions include:
- Schools that the child will attend.
- Religious involvement
- Medical care and providers
Joint Legal Custody
Under California law, joint legal custody means that both parents share in the right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child. Joint legal custody is very common child custody term found in California. The fact that parents share joint legal custody, however, does not necessarily mean they will share joint physical custody. Parents typically share joint legal custody, unless one of the following is true:
- One parent is deemed to be unfit.
- One parent is incapable of making decisions for the child.
- It is the child’s best interests for one parent to have sole legal custody.
Sole Legal Custody
This child custody terms refers to the right of one parent to make all major decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child, and may make such decisions without approval and without contacting the other parent. The fact that a parent has sole legal custody does not mean that parent will also have sole physical custody.
This refers to where a child will live after a divorce or separation. This is the most often questioned child custody term. The parent with physical custody has the right to have the child physically present in their home. This will be the child residence. If a child lives exclusively or primarily with one parent, that parent is usually referred to as the “custodial” or “residential” parent. The other parent is referred to as the “non-custodial” or “non-residential” parent. The non-custodial parent typically has visitation rights, also known as “parenting time.”
Joint Physical Custody
This child custody term refers to a situation where both parents have significant periods of physical custody with a child. If a child’s time is divided equally between the parents, or close to equally, the parents are sharing joint physical custody.
Sole Physical Custody
Sole physical custody means that a child resides with one parent, subject to any court-ordered visitation for the non-custodial parent.
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For more information about child custody, click on one of the following links:
California Child Custody – California Attorney – Lawyer Consultation
California Child Custody Modification – California Attorney – Lawyer Consultation
Family Law Divorce – California Attorney – Lawyer Consultation
Co-Parenting – California Attorney – Lawyer Consultation
California Divorce – California Attorney – Lawyer Consultation