Child custody can be complex but also incredibly important to California families. For that reason, parents should be familiar with how child custody determinations are made and what factors are taken into consideration when child custody determinations are made.
Factors used to determine child custody
Child custody factors that are used to make child custody decisions include:
- The age of the child
- The health of the child
- The emotional ties between the parents and the child
- The ability of the parents to care for the child
- The child’s ties to their school, home and community
- Any history of family violence or substance abuse.
There are two categories of child custody including legal custody and physical custody. Parents who have legal custody of a child can make decisions about the child’s school or child care; religious activities; psychiatric, psychological and mental health counseling or therapy needs; medical care; extracurricular activities including sports and other activities; travel; and where the child will live. Physical custody is the other type of custody and refers to who the child primarily lives with. Both types of custody can be joint, or shared, or sole. When a parent has sole legal custody, they do not have to consult the other parent when making major decisions for the child.
All child custody determinations are based on the best interests of the child. These factors are used to determine what child custody arrangement is best for that child. Family law resources can help parents navigate child custody concerns and develop a child custody arrangement for their child and family.