Issues for Child Custody and Visitation
Most people are familiar with the legal terms “legal” and “physical” custody. As to the types of custodial arrangements, both parents usually share “jointly” in the legal custody of their child or children. This means that the parents must jointly decide and agree on all important decisions regarding medical assistance, education, and welfare related to the minor child. In the alternative, one parent may have exclusive custody, i.e. legal and physical custody or sole physical or legal custody.
The court may consider the wishes of the minor child when granting custody if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to reason and can demonstrate a preference as to custody.In granting legal or physical custody, the court shall determine what is in the best interest of the child. In deciding what is in the child’s best interest, the court is to consider the health, safety, and welfare of the children. The public policy of the State of California is to assure that the child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have ended their relationship and to encourage parents to share the child rearing responsibilities.
In determining what is in the best interests of the child, the court has wide discretion in granting a parenting plan of custody and visitation. A parent shall not have special consideration as to custody simply because of that parent’s sex.