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Legal Custody:

Legal custody refers to the right of the parent to make decisions concerning the child's/ children's education, medical treatment and general welfare. The cases where one parent is awarded sole legal custody of the child/children are rare, and reflect the court's decision that only one parent will have the sole responsibility for those decisions. Courts consider the history of abuse against one parent by another and any history of child abuse in making these decisions, and are guided by the California law which states that the court must make orders that it deems to be in the best interests of the child/children.


Physical Custody and Visitation:

Physical custody and Visitation refer to each parent's custodial time with the child/children, and the parenting plan on which the parties agree or the court orders, that sets forth a schedule dividing the child's time between the parents. Child Custody and Visitation, or Parenting Plan, usually involve the most acrimonious disputes between the parties. The Courts and legal professionals are beginning to do away with the distinction between custodial and noncustodial parents, while attempting to promote cooperative parenting which is deemed to be in the best interests of the children. Either party may be able to change the initial order of the court regarding custody and visitation by requesting a hearing at which they must prove that there is a good cause, such as a material change in circumstances, justifying this request.


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