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Understanding When Joint Custody Is Appropriate for Parents and Child Alike

Posted on in Divorce

California family lawyerIf you have children and are newly divorced, in the process of divorce, or seriously contemplating divorce, the issue of child custody is surely on your mind. You may be anxiously anticipating a contentious court battle, for example. The truth is, however, is that the kind of hostile courtroom scenarios depicted in television and film are not representative of the vast majority of dispute resolution.

Divorce is common and in many cases mutual and free from larger-than-life rancor and, when children are involved, with ex-spouses working together to share custody. Such sharing, in legal terms, is known as “joint custody.” An experienced Sunnyvale family law attorney can help determine whether joint custody is best for you and your children.

Joint Custody Is Conditional on Certain Minimum Criteria

Child custody in California is two-fold, comprised of both “legal” custody and “physical” custody. One reason why the issue of custody is frequently resolved outside of the courtroom is that California encourages parents to share both types of custody when it is possible to do agreeably and with the child’s welfare in mind.

Legal custody concerns decision-making, with specific regard to the health and education of the child. Here, upbringing – the raising of the child – is at issue. With legal custody comes the right to decide, for example, where the child will go to school, and whether a child will participate in religious activities or should receive medical care (e.g. vaccinations).

Physical custody, as you have likely deduced, speaks to where the child will live after a divorce or separation. Parents with joint physical custody each have the right to have the child physically present in the home. Joint physical custody between divorced parents may seem paradoxical but is really about time – about the right of each parent to have meaningful periods of physical custody.

Establishing a Workable Child Custody Arrangement in California

Joint custody is not right for all parents. When divorced parents are completely unable to engage in shared decision-making, joint custody is neither appropriate nor feasible. The same is true in instances in which one parent is deemed legally unfit to share in custody (e.g. when addiction or abuse is present). The child’s best interest is paramount.

In determining whether a joint custody arrangement serves that interest and can be duly implemented by divorced or separated parents, an experienced child custody attorney is an invaluable resource. Please contact a skilled Sunnyvale family law attorney from Ventresca Law Firm at 408-395-8822. We service clients in the Los Gatos, Sunnyvale, Saratoga, Cupertino, and San Jose areas.




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Los Gatos, CA 95030

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