Child custody is an important and complicated area of family law. When California parents have questions about how the custody of their children will be resolved when they separate or divorce, they should consider seeking counsel from trusted local attorneys. This post briefly discusses one type of child custody – legal custody – but should not be used as independent legal advice.
Unlike physical custody, which deals with the important matter of where a child will live and which parent will be responsible for their day-to-day care, legal custody concerns the intangible responsibilities that every parent must uphold. For example, the decision to submit a child to a medical procedure or to enroll them in lessons to become part of a church are matters that parents may choose or not choose to undertake as a course of action. A parent who has legal custody may have a voice in these and other important matters; a parent who loses legal custody may not enjoy this power.
In some cases, a parent may have legal custody of their child but not physical custody. When this occurs, they generally must work with their co-parent to make informed and reasonable decisions about raising their child.
Legal custody is an important parental right that individuals may fight for when they are subject to child custody hearings and determinations. While every family law case is different, parents can benefit from educating themselves about the law and seeking the support of legal advisers who represent family law clients.