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What does joint custody mean in California?

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2020 | Child Custody & Visitation

When a Los Angeles area couple decides to get a divorce, it can be a traumatic time. Going through a divorce in California is no easy task. There are many obstacles that need to be worked through in a divorce settlement with child custody being one of the most important. For many California couples, child custody is assigned as joint custody. But what does joint custody mean in California?

According to the California Family Code (Cal. Fam. Code § 3003), joint custody means both parents share the “right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of a child”. Joint legal custody does not necessarily mean that the parents will also share physical custody.

Most of the time California courts award the parents joint custody unless one of the following is true:

  • The court believes one parent is unfit
  • The parents cannot make decisions together
  • It is in the child’s best interest that only one parent has custody
  • A parent is not able to make decisions regarding the upbringing of the child

An attorney who specializes in family law can help their client understand the complexities that can be present in a California divorce. Besides assets allocation, child support and child custody can be a crucial matter to work through. An attorney can advocate on their client’s behalf to make sure their rights are protected, and their needs are met both now and into the future. Their purpose is to help their clients make informed legal decisions and achieve the best outcome possible.