Is Sole Legal Custody Right in Your San Diego Divorce?

Divorce

It is never an easy decision to pursue divorce, and the process can often be complex and confusing especially when children are involved in the divorce process. With many high-profile celebrities battling over children in court during their divorce, custody of children can be a cloudy issue.

Generally, California courts prefer that parents come to an agreement about custody in which they share custodial roles. However, when parents cannot agree, then courts will step in and make custody decisions based on California law expressing factors for a court to consider in determining the best interests of the child. This will result in a custody arrangement that specifies both physical and legal custody terms.

What Is the Difference Between Physical and Legal Custody in San Diego Divorce?

Physical custody refers to where the children spend their time. A judge can grant either sole or joint physical custody, which will determine where children spend their time. Even when a judge grants joint physical custody, it can often be difficult to split time directly in half and children will often end up spending at least a little more time with one parent, who is sometimes referred to as the custodial parent.

Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make important decisions in the child’s life about things like:

  • School
  • Medical needs
  • Extracurricular activities, including summer activities
  • Religious activities
  • Where the child will live

Legal custody can also be sole or joint. With joint legal custody, parents will share the ability to make these decisions. In cases where sole legal custody is granted, only one parent will make these decisions and does not need the approval of the other parent.

When Is Sole Legal Custody Awarded in a San Diego Divorce?

California courts prefer that parents share important decisions about their children. However, that may not always be practical given the individual circumstances of your divorce. Courts may award sole legal custody in a variety of situations that might include cases where one parent has a radical approach to health care or religion, or where one parent is substantially absent from a child’s life.

Generally, courts reserve awarding sole legal custody for situations where one parent is potentially unfit to make important legal decisions about their child. In all cases, courts will refer to standards that help them determine what type of custody is in the best interest of the child.

Is Sole Legal Custody Right for You?

Determining whether sole legal custody is the right option for you and your children will depend on your unique circumstances. Your California divorce attorney can help you evaluate various factors that can help you determine whether sole legal custody might be appropriate. However, the decision to pursue sole legal or sole physical custody is ultimately up to you.

If you are considering divorce or have already made the difficult decision to pursue divorce and have questions or concerns about how custody may be decided in San Diego County, contact JWB Family Law to schedule a free consultation where you can find out more information about custody determinations and what they might mean for you.

Getting divorced in San Diego County? Call us today. 619.234.6123

Schedule a free 30 minute consultation with JWB Family Law

Is Domestic Violence a Felony?

Yes, domestic violence can be a felony. A criminal case begins when someone reports an incident of domestic violence to law enforcement. If an arrest happens, criminal charges may be filed by the District Attorney. What is considered domestic violence? California...

How is Spousal Support Calculated?

In California, there are two types of spousal support: temporary and permanent (or long-term support).  Temporary support is support that is ordered before your final judgment of dissolution. Permanent or long-term support is ordered either at trial or through...

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in CA?

If you plan to file for a divorce in the state of California, you're probably wondering how long the divorce process will take to complete. The answer to that question is—it depends. Under California family law, a couple cannot be divorced until at least six months...

JWB Family Law Adds Anne B. Howard ESQ., as a Senior Associate Attorney

JWB Family Law is expanding its team to welcome Anne B. Howard, ESQ, as a Senior Associate Attorney. Anne brings extensive expertise in family law to the team, specializing in child support, paternity, asset, and property division, and divorce. “I was drawn to the...

Custody and Successful Co-Parenting During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc in our daily lives. Schools are closed, parents are working from home, and some have lost their jobs. Life is not what it was just a few months ago. Children are now with parents all day—every day. Parents are now responsible...

How to Deal With Domestic Violence During COVID-19

There is a growing concern amongst professionals regarding a rise in domestic abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the period from March 1 through April 25, 2020, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department logged 2,309 domestic-related calls. This is roughly a three...

JWB Family Law Continues to Serve Clients During COVID-19

Heightened anxiety and uncertainty in the world often result in significant family distress, including a surge in domestic violence incidents. As a family law practice, we need to show up for our clients now more than ever. For that reason, JWB Family Law is operating...

How Do I Change My Family Court Order and When Should I Do It?

When should you change your Family Court order?  When it no longer serves the needs of your family.   For example, if a custody order is entered when your baby girl is two years old, it may say she stays with each parent for 2 or 3 days and then trades back.  This is...

What is Family Court Services Mediation and Do I Have to Attend It?

If you are unhappy with your current custody plan, or need to create a new one, you may ask the court for assistance.  To do that, you will need to file a Request for Order with the local court. Immediately upon filing the Request, you will receive a date to attend...

How to Legally Obtain a Paternity Test

It happens.  Sometimes we do not know who the biological father of a child is.  It is important information. Paternity effects health issues, as well as the socioeconomic ones.   Enter the paternity test.  It is not like the old days of enormous expense, blood tests,...