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Child Custody Arrangements

If you are a parent going through a divorce, some of the most important issues to determine are the terms of your child custody arrangement. Though the legal jargon may be confusing, it is important to understand the various types of child custody.

Joint Legal Custody

Joint legal custody is usually ordered by the court to give parents equal say regarding important decisions made on behalf of the children. Inability or unwillingness of the parties to work together on a co-parenting plan may be grounds for denying joint legal custody.

Joint Physical Custody

Joint physical custody is a shared physical custody arrangement of the children, where the intention is that the children spend significant periods of time with each parent, such as alternating weeks between mother and father. Except in cases of abuse, negligence, or addiction, joint custody arrangements are favored by the courts.

Sole Legal Custody

Sole legal Custody describes an arrangement where one parent is awarded exclusive decision-making power with regard to the best interests of the minor children. This includes decisions about education, religious upbringing, medical needs, et cetera. Because sole legal custody deprives one parent of certain rights, courts are reluctant to grant it without consent of the non-custodial parent or some other compelling reason. Reasons might include abandonment, endangerment, or abuse.

Sole Physical Custody

Sole physical custody occurs when one parent is awarded exclusive physical custody of the minor children and the other parent is granted limited or no visitation. Visitation is an agreed upon or court ordered period of time during which the non-custodial parent will have the same right of access to the minor children as does the custodial parent. Sole legal/sole physical custody arrangements usually are not granted unless there are extreme circumstances or consent, e.g. father wants nothing to do with the children and disappears.

While divorce is one of the most painful events a person will experience, second only to the death of a loved one, it is many times more painful and frightening for your children. The Law Collaborative has over one hundred years of combined experience handling the many and varied intricacies of child custody matters, including "Move Away" cases when one parent plans to take the children out of state or out of the country. Our number one goal is protecting the best interests of your children. Our team of skilled attorneys will work diligently to assist you in designing a parenting plan that will ease the transition from one family to two, and we will protect you and your children's rights should your case go to court. When appropriate, we seek the assistance of only the most sensitive and gifted mental health professionals, child custody evaluators, and parenting plan coordinators. We always put the needs of your children first.

In addition to resolving child custody disputes during divorce, we are also available to assist with modifications of existing court orders. If you are not currently enjoying at least 50/50 custody, we may be able to assist you in obtaining more custodial time. When it is in the child's best interest, The Law Collaborative will seek to obtain sole legal custody for our clients.  Click here for Child Custody FAQ.

To schedule a meeting to discuss your child custody case with one of our experienced family law attorneys, email us at, call us toll free at (818) 348-6700, or fill out a case evaluation form.