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Legal Custody

Legal Custody means the right to make decisions about a child’s welfare. In child custody cases the parents will usually share joint legal custody unless one of the following is true:

The parents are unable to make decisions together, a parent is deemed unfit, a parent is incapable of making decisions regarding the upbringing or welfare of the child, or it would be in the child’s best interest for one parent to have sole legal custody.

 

Joint Legal Custody

According to California Family Code section 3003, “’Joint legal custody’ means that both parents shall share the right and the responsibility to make the decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child.” Joint legal custody is very common in California. The fact that the parents share joint legal custody does not mean the parents will necessarily share joint physical custody.

Sole Legal Custody

According to California Family Code section 3006, “’Sole legal custody’ means that one parent shall have the right and the responsibility to make the decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of a child.” This parent can make all decisions without seeking input from the other parent. The fact that a parent has sole legal custody does not mean that parent will also have sole physical custody.

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