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Physical Custody: Oakland Custody Lawyer Janice Cho Explains

Part Two in our series on Navigating Custody Battles in California


During a divorce or separation, it's important to understand legal and physical custody and how they affect parents and children. This second part of our article explains what physical custody means, for you the parent, and in the eyes of the court. It will also highlight the importance of hiring a skilled Oakland custody lawyer to assist you with securing a favorable outcome for you and your child.


Sole Physical Custody


In a sole physical custody arrangement, the child primarily resides with one parent, and the other parent typically has visitation rights. The custodial parent has the responsibility of providing the child's primary residence and is generally responsible for the day-to-day care and decision-making.


Joint Physical Custody


Joint physical custody means that the child spends significant time living with both parents. This arrangement aims to ensure that both parents actively participate in the child's upbringing. While the time split doesn't necessarily have to be exactly equal, both parents share in the physical care and responsibility of the child. Joint custody requires a cooperative and communicative co-parenting relationship.


Split Physical Custody


Split custody is a less common arrangement where there are two or more children, and each parent is granted physical custody of at least one of them. Essentially, the children are divided between the parents. This arrangement can be complex and can involve a variety of schedules and logistics, as each parent is primarily responsible for the care of a specific child or children.


While these are the primary types of physical custody arrangements, the specific details of each arrangement can vary widely based on the unique circumstances of the family. The court's ultimate goal is to determine a custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the child or children involved.


How Does the Court Decide?


When a court is tasked with deciding the type of physical custody, its primary focus is on the well-being of the child. This involves a comprehensive assessment of various factors.

Stability and continuity play a crucial role, as the court examines which parent can provide a consistent and secure living environment. Additionally, the court evaluates the co-parenting abilities of each parent, valuing effective communication and cooperation for the benefit of the child.


The safety and overall welfare of the child are of top concern, with any history of abuse, neglect, or unsafe behavior being a significant factor in the court's decision. If age-appropriate, the child's preferences are considered, although the ultimate decision is not solely based on their wishes.


Geographic proximity, consistent routines, parental availability, and the ability to meet the child's basic needs are all taken into account. The court also assesses each parent's involvement in the child's life, considering participation in education, extracurricular activities, and overall engagement in the child's interests and development. Special needs or considerations of the child are factored in, ensuring that the chosen custody arrangement addresses those unique requirements.


The court’s main goal is to determine a custody arrangement that best serves the child's overall well-being and development, considering all pertinent circumstances of the particular case. Consulting an experienced family law attorney, in particular a skilled Oakland custody lawyer, is advised for navigating the complexities of custody determinations in California.


How Oakland Custody Lawyer Janice Cho Can Help


The Law Offices of Janice Cho is a client-oriented law firm specializing in helping individuals understand and resolve family law matters efficiently and effectively. The family law practice provides full representation, mediation, consulting services and brief services. Whether negotiating a settlement or conducting litigation, I am here for you.


I have extensive trial experience and will guide you through the process. Should your case be one that cannot be settled, I will vigorously represent you in the litigation process, while doing my best to make the process tolerable for you and to keep costs under control. I will make sure that I understand your concerns and goals and will answer questions about the substantive issues, the process, the possible outcomes and the consequences so that you can make informed decisions.


Call (510) 925-2651 when you need the assistance of an experienced Oakland custody lawyer.


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