When you are involved in a divorce process, its vital to start thinking of the types of child custody options that a judge can order. Child custody is the legal relationship between a parent and the child. This also determines whether the parent can make any decisions on the behalf of the child.
Child custody can be sorted if you and your partner are separated amiably. But in most of the cases when no agreeable arrangement is reached, the court will intervene and decide on the custody plan and options for visitations.
Different types of custody
Based on the various legal options available, the judge will determine the child’s welfare before deciding the permanent keeper of the child and who can visit or not. The welfare of the child is central to judge’s consideration while granting custody for the child.
Below are the various options for child custody :
What is sole physical custody ?
Sole Physical Custody (Cal. Fam. Code § 3007) is an arrangement when the court orders your child to exclusively reside and be under the supervision of you or the other parent. This normally involves staying more then 50 percent of the time with one parent. If a court grants sole physical custody to you, the other parent is given visitation rights considering the best interest of your child.
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What is joint physical custody ?
Joint Physical custody (Cal. Fam. Code § 3004) states that both parents have equal rights to make decisions for the child. Also called the shared parenting , the child stays with both parents for almost equal tenure respectively.
Bird’s Nest Custody
Under this arrangement the child lives in one central location and the parents take turns to spend time with the child on a regular schedule. For instance number in a week or a month can be split to spend time with the child.
This option however works out to be expensive as the parents need to jointly maintain the third residence for the child.
What is sole legal custody
Sole Legal Custody (Cal. Fam. Code § 3006) is the arrangement when the court orders to either you or the other parent the exclusive rights to make decisions relating to your child’s health, education, and welfare. In most cases, the non-custodial parent is awarded generous visitation rights, including sleepovers.
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Reasons for sole legal custody
Various reasons for sole legal custody are :
- Abuse : When the court has credible facts and reasons which denote cases of abuse of the child by one parent, the court orders sole custody to the other parent.
- Mental Illness : If the parent is mentally unstable due to natural causes to substance abuse, which makes the judgment and the intellect of one parent unreliable or impaired, the court may order sole legal custody to the stable parent.
- Lack of communication withe the child : If one parent is not involved or has not been able to communicate or involve in the child’s life, the court may order sole custody to the other parent. The court determines through this the importance of the child for that parent and whether the parent can balance showing up for the child and also have constant employment.
What is Joint Legal Custody?
This type of custody is normally considered best for the child as this ensures best of the circumstances for the child. Under joint legal custody, both parents have the equal right to determine the best of the child for its education, health care and other lifestyle choices.
It should also be noted that legal custody is separate from physical custody. In other words, it is possible for co-parents to share legal custody but not share physical custody. In lot of cases parents share legal custody even while the child resides primarily with one parent and has regular visitation with the other.
What is temporary custody?
There are situations when the court is not able to timely decide on a final child custody order and such situations warrants a temporary custody for the child. The court will again keep the best interest of the child while deciding who gets the temporary custody of the child.
Reasons for temporary guardianship
There are various reasons for courts to consider temporary guardianship or temporary custody :
- Primarily the final decisions being pending with court, a temporary guardian ship is established.
- When one parent cannot afford to keep the child due to financial reasons, a temporary guardian ship can be granted to the other parent or a trusted relative.
- In case of illness of one parent a temporary custody can be granted to the other parent
How long does temporary custody last ?
A temporary custody can last from anywhere between one month to six month based on the circumstances. All such orders have an expiration date but if both parents agree they can appear in court without attorneys and tell the judge what you have agreed to and what you would like as a final order.
What does the statistics say?
As per the National center of health statistics, nearly 70 percent of child custody cases are decided in the favour of mothers. Only about 10 percent of child custody awards are made to fathers. The rest of the child custody awards involve some sort of joint custody arrangement.
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