Choosing a child custody plan begins with knowledge

At the end of a marriage, those individuals who are parents will likely be thinking about what to do with the children. While many families will opt for shared child custody, others will decide that another type of custody plan will work for them. In California, there are many possible arrangements for individuals that co-parent with an ex. 

Custody can be broken up into two major categories, and then from those categories other options are formed. When it comes to care of the children, there is legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the parent's ability to make decisions about the life of the child, especially medical and educational. Physical custody refers to a parent's ability to have the child reside with them at home. 

It is likely that the task will be shared by both parents, unless there is a circumstance in which contact with one of the parents is not in the best interest of the child. In cases like that, sole custody could be awarded. Sole means that one person will be responsible. A parent can have sole legal or sole physical custody, or both. Joint custody means a shared arrangement, in which the child can go back and forth between the parents on an agreed-upon schedule. 

Other child custody options exists as well, including third-party custody for parents who are unfit to raise the child. At the time of a divorce, an individual will probably negotiate with the other parent and create an agreement that is in the child's best interests. If the individual experiences some difficulty achieving this goal alone, he or she may require help. In California, some people choose to hire an experienced family law attorney for exactly this reason. 

Source:, "Child Custody 101", Armin Brott, Jan. 30, 2018

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