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The Different Types of Child Custody Arrangements in California

by one400-admin
Mar 31, 2024
child custody

Getting divorced is not an easy task. It is a rough process that can take its toll on all involved. Divorce is especially complex if a couple has children. 

When a couple with children ends their relationship, they will have to deal with child custody. Learn more below.

Different Types of Child Custody

There are two main types of child custody. Legal custody refers to who makes important decisions for your children. These decisions may include school, childcare, religion, medical care, and psychological needs (such as therapy, travel, sports, and other extracurricular activities. The other type of custody is physical custody, which refers to which parent your children live with most of the time. 

Between these two types of custody are various subcategories of custody:

  • Joint legal custody. This means that both parents make major decisions about their child together. 
  • Sole legal custody. Only one parent has the right to make major decisions about the child. 
  • Joint physical custody. Both parents have shared custody of the child. The child lives with both parents for a significant amount of time. Custody may be 50/50 or close. 
  • Sole physical custody. The child lives with one parent 100% of the time but has scheduled visitation with the other parent. 

It is possible for a parent to have different types of custody. For example, one parent may have sole custody, but both parents may have legal custody. 

Joint custody is considered to be the best arrangement for children. In most cases, it is best for children to spend time with both parents. Sole custody is not common. It is typically only awarded when one parent is unfit. Some parents will fight for sole custody, but this is not always a good idea. You should only consider it if it is dangerous for your child to be around the other parent. It should not be done out of spite or revenge.

You may hear other terms in the context of child custody. One of them is primary custody. Primary custody means that one parent has the vast majority of parenting time while the other parent gets some visitation time. The noncustodial parent is said to have partial custody. 

Split custody is another type of child custody, but it is rare. This may be done when there are multiple children. Each parent has primary custody of at least one child. For example, the mother may have two children while the father has one. This means the children get split up, which is not always fair. The courts will generally aim for joint custody when at all possible.

Types of Parenting Time

A 50/50 parenting schedule is more likely to be successful when the parents live close to each other and can communicate well. If you and the other parent have joint custody of the children, there are many ways to divide up the parenting time so that it is equal. Here are some examples:

  • Alternating weeks. The child spends one week with one parent and the next week with the other parent. They alternate every week. 
  • Two weeks each. This is the same thing, except the child spends two weeks with one parent and then the next two weeks with the other parent. 
  • 3-4-4-3 schedule. This is another common schedule. The child spends three days with one parent and four days with the other parent. The schedule changes next week. The child spends four days with the first parent and three days with the second parent. 
  • 2-2-3 schedule. The 2-2-3 schedule has your child spend two days with one parent, two days with the other parent, and then three days with the first parent. It switches next week.
  • 2-2-5-5 schedule. On the 2-2-5-5 schedule, your child spends two days with each parent and then five days with each parent.
  • Alternating every two days. This schedule will have your child moving back and forth a lot. The alternating every two days schedule has the child switching between the parents every two days.

Contact The Law Offices of David M. Lederman for Help Navigating Family Law Issues 

Divorce and family law issues can be complex and stressful, which is why having strong representation is important. It is crucial to contact an experienced family law firm at the first sign of a family law dispute. The sooner we start working on your case, the sooner you can move on with your life. Call 925-522-8889 or send us a message to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers. 

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