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Understand physical and legal custody in California

Child custody is an important matter that comes up in divorce. Choosing the right custody arrangements in your case is also vital because the arrangements you make will affect your child now and in the future.

There are several kinds of custody orders including legal custody orders and physical custody orders. With legal orders, they discuss who can make decisions for a child's welfare. It's normal for both parents to be able to make those decisions for a child, but sometimes, legal custody is awarded to only one parent.

Physical custody is the second order to look into. Physical custody determines where a child lives, who takes care of them and when each parent sees the child. Sole custody is arranged for some rare cases where a child is placed into the care of one parent. Usually, joint custody is preferred.

Should you fight for legal and physical custody?

Yes, and most parents will. If you want to retain the right to take care of your child, make decisions for their welfare and see them regularly, then you'll want both legal and physical custody. If you are found to be an unfit parent, there is a chance you could lose physical and legal custody, though this is rare. You can also seek to cause the other parent to lose their rights if they are abusive or harmful to your child in some way.

Your attorney can talk to you more about the preferred custody arrangements in California and what a judge may think of your case when it goes to court.

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