Child custody is a challenging topic to address during the divorce process. California parents can be unsure of how to breach the subject with each other, but ultimately child custody can be one of the most important matters they manage as they separate their lives from each other. When parents cannot work out custody and parenting decisions on their own, they can turn to the courts for help.

In some cases, it may not be appropriate or safe for a child to live with one of their parents. When this situation arises, their other parent may be awarded sole custody. This post will discuss sole and joint custody and what factors may influence an award of either during a California divorce. This post does not provide any legal advice.

Joint custody vs. sole custody: Understanding the difference

Joint and sole custody are two different types of custody that divorced California parents can hold. When parents have joint custody they share in the decision-making powers of raising their kids and may also share in having their kids live with each of them for stipulated periods of time. Sole custody grants these powers and rights to one parent. A parent who lacks custody, such as a parent whose co-parent is awarded sole custody, may be granted visitation rights with their child.

Why sole custody is awarded during divorce cases

Courts are tasked with finding custodial arrangements that serve the best interests of the kids who are affected by their decisions. If a child has been harmed or hurt by a parent, or if a parent has a history of violence or dangerous behavior in their past, a court may not all a child to be in the custody of that individual. A parent who may be unable to support their child or provide them with what they need to live may not be granted custody and sole custody may be given to the child’s co-parent.

It is important that parents understand what rights and options they have when addressing the future custodial roles they will play in the lives of their kids. Their divorce and family law attorneys can help them work out the problems they encounter and the questions they have.