Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide


California Divorce Custody


Similar to other states in USA, California divorce custody laws are based on the premise that best interests of the child are met and the welfare of the child should not be compromised. These two factors are kept in mind while ruling for divorce child custody in the courts of California:
  • It is to be ensured that custody is awarded to the parent who can take care of the safety of the child. Judges try to check police records of both the parents to see if there is any history of child abuse, molestation, and child neglect any kinds of violence. Offenders are not awarded child custody.

  • California courts emphasize that preferably the child should be raised through joint custody so as to ensure that the child is groomed well and his educational or health or social or religious needs are fulfilled by both the parents. In such a case, the divorced parents get a chance to raise the child well and therefore, enjoy parental duties and responsibilities as well. Based on this premise, divorced parents filing California divorce custody cases in the courts must chart out the parenting plan and consequent visitation schedule.

  • California divorce custody arrangements can be either sole or joint custody. In the case of sole physical custody, it can be of three types:

    1. Where only one parent gets the physical and legal custody of the child. He/she is solely responsible for taking all the decisions (legal, health related, educational, social decisions) of the child apart from controlling the place where the child resides.

    2. In some cases of divorce child custody in California, one parent is awarded the physical custody but the decisions regarding other matters of the child are not to be taken by that custodian parent at all. The other parent, who has the visitation rights, is authorized to take decisions of the child.

  • California divorce custody battles are sometimes settled with courts awarding joint custody to both the parents. Both the parents are hence, responsible for taking decisions regarding the child’s legal, educational, religious maters. Here, both the parents are authorized to decide the physical custody of the child as well.

  • In some other California divorce cases, both the parents are awarded the physical custody of the child, also called as joint physical custody where the child can spend considerable amounts of time with both the parents. It does not refer to 50/50 splitting of the time of the child, but to allow both the parents to continue providing their love and attention to the child.

  • In divorce child custody cases where there are more than one child, then Californian courts are found to be awarding split physical custody, whereby the father gets the son or the mother gets the daughter. Of course, both have visitation rights of the other child but has exclusive physical custody of one child all the times.

  • Visitation rights of the non-custodian parent ma be withdrawn or even never get granted if he/she is a perpetrator of a violent crime. Sex offenders are never awarded custody nor visitation rights in California divorce custody battles.
Custody and visitation rights are also not granted to the child who is/was born of a rape. If the non-custodian parent has a record of being alcoholic or indulged in drug abuse, then also the visitation rights of that parent maybe forfeited by Californian courts.
  • Siblings are not to be separated, according to California divorce custody laws. Unless, there are extremely other important issues, such as educational or medical needs, siblings should be together in custody.

  • In some unique divorce custody cases, judges give importance to the parental preference of the child. This depends on the maturity level of the child and his/her sense of reasoning while deciding which parent to live with.
Divorce is a traumatic experience to the entire family. Californian courts simply try to mitigate the damage by ensuring the best possible haven of protection to the child.


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