Which Kind of Child Custody Is Right for You?

Divorce can be a painful process, especially on any children involved. If you’re thinking of getting a divorce, you should know there are several different types of custody awards.  The experienced Los Angeles divorce attorneys at Boyd Law can help you better understand the different types of child custody and what the negatives and positives of each one are, along with how likely it will be to obtain each one.  According to the American Bar Association, most states have rules in place that encourage a relationship with both parents. The state of California lets the parents determine custody issues first.  If you are having trouble finding common ground with your soon to be ex spouse, professionals like child custody attorney and or family law mediator can be very beneficial in helping divorcing spouses come to an agreement that everyone involved can agree upon.

In the best-case scenario, a judge will simply sign off on the custody agreement you and your spouse have created. In the event you cannot come to an amicable arrangement, a judge may make a ruling for you. Here are the different types of custody awards available:

Joint Legal Custody

In this scenario, both parents have equal say in the decisions that affect the health, welfare, and education of dependent children. This is the type of custody the courts prefer to rule on, as long as it’s in the best interest of the children. The benefit of joint legal custody is that the children get to grow up with equal influence from both parents. To the same end, this can also be a disadvantage to joint legal custody. When both parents have custody over living arrangements, children spend a lot of time being shuttled back and forth between two houses. This can be stressful and cause hardship for the kids involved.

Full/Sole Legal Custody

In this type of custody, only one parent may make decisions regarding the health, welfare, and education of the children. Usually, a judge will only grant sole legal custody if one parent is deemed unfit. A parent may be unfit if he or she abuses alcohol or drugs or neglects the children. If you’re the parent awarded full custody, the principle benefit is knowing your kid’s future is secure in your hands.

Joint Physical Custody

Joint physical custody is an arrangement in which children live with both parents; though the time spent living at each home doesn’t have to be equal. According to Robert Emery, PhD and professor of child psychology at the University of Virginia, joint physical custody is “the best and worse arrangement.” Essentially, it’s in the best interest of the child in theory, but research shows this kind of situation tends to be less stable than a sole custody arrangement over time.

Joint physical custody works best when parents are cordial to one another and their divorce is classified as “low conflict.” In bitter divorces, children fare worse with joint physical custody, as they’re often put in the middle of their parents’ arguments. For joint physical custody to be successful, both parents need to be committed to making the experience as smooth for their children as possible.

Sole Physical Custody

This custody is awarded when a judge determines the children should live with one parent. Generally, the other parent receives visitation rights, which can be supervised or unsupervised. Sole physical custody can be advantageous since children can continue with their regular routines, like attending a familiar school and enrolling in their regular extracurricular activities. In some cases, this can make the divorce process easiest for the children involved.

However, sole physical custody can put the non-custodial parent at a serious disadvantage. If a parent only has visitation rights, these sessions may be more about playtime and less about other parental responsibilities, like discipline or teaching responsibility. It’s possible over time that the non-custodial parent will become more of a friend figure than an authority.

If you’re facing a custody battle, contact the legal team at Boyd Law to help you come to an arrangement that’s best for you and your children. Contact the Los Angeles, CA family lawyers at Boyd Law today for a free legal consultation.