For a couple that is divorcing, child custody will be an important decision to make. Some couples are able to work together on an agreement that they present to the court to have approved. An agreement between a couple is binding. For many couples, it is challenging to find a solution that they can both agree upon and the ultimate decision may need to be made by the court. When deciding how to divide up child custody, the court will want to do what they believe is in the best interest of the child. They will take into account the child's age, health bond with the community, and any history of violence in the family, as well as the bond that they have with each parent and the ability of each parent to take care of the child.
Both parents are assessed to determine if they are fit to care for the child or if they should be limited to having visitation time, if any at all. There are two types of custody in California; physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody is when the child lives with a parent. Legal custody involves having the right to make decisions for the child in regards to education and healthcare. Legal custody may be sole or joint. In sole, the one parent will be in charge of making the main decisions, though it does not always mean that the other parent has no say in the child's life. Join custody is when both of the parents work together. The court often wants to have both parents involved in the life of the child if it is possible. Physical custody can also be sole or joint.