Joint Custody

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San Luis Obispo Joint Custody Attorney

Counsel From Our Santa Maria Child Custody Lawyer

Divorce can be a difficult time fraught with anxiety and frustration, even more so when children are involved. California courts generally favor joint custody when it comes to children in divorce proceedings in order to allow for both parents to have significant time with the child. When you are going through a divorce and need to ensure your rights are protected, call our San Luis Obispo family law attorney who can advise you at every step.

The Law Offices of R. Morgan Holland, L.C. has been helping families for 30+ years reach their goals. We have provided effective legal counsel for those facing divorce and child custody disputes for numerous clients by walking them through the entirety of the process and protecting their rights. When you are facing a contested custody during your divorce, make sure our firm is by your side!

What do judges look for when determining custody?

In all decisions involving child custody, California courts are tasked with judging in favor of the child’s best interests. This can be subjective to some degree and our Santa Maria divorce attorney can push for your right to custody as a parent.

In general, the child’s best interests include factors such as:

  • Their age
  • Their relationship with the parent
  • The child’s preference if old enough
  • The stability of any proposed living arrangements
  • The ability of each parent to cooperate in childcare
  • Any history of domestic violence
  • Capacity of both parents to offer love, guidance, and support to the child
  • Desirability of continuing a current living arrangement

The above factors are not exclusive and while being determined unfit is an automatic disqualifier for a parent, other factors are not all given equal weight.

How to Get Joint Custody in California

Joint custody can be broken up into two parts, "joint legal custody" and "joint physical custody".

  • Joint legal custody is when both parents have an equal right to make decisions about their children's welfare, education, and health.
  • Joint physical custody means that the children spend the majority of their time with both parents.
Steps for Obtaining Joint Custody
  1. File a custody petition that outlines your joint custody agreement with the court.
  2. Attend a custody mediation session as required by California law.
  3. Submit your joint custody agreement to the court for approval.
  4. Attend a custody hearing if you and your co-parent cannot reach an agreement in custody mediation.
  5. Provide evidence of your ability to co-parent effectively with the other parent.

Legal & Physical Custody

Two types of joint custody exist in California—legal and physical. Joint legal custody means that both parents will decide in the making decisions for their child regarding healthcare, education, and religion of the child. This is very common in this state. Joint legal custody is usually granted when parents cannot make such decisions together.

Joint physical custody is when a child lives with both parents for a significant amount of time. Courts in this case will attempt to divide the time each parent shares with the child as equally as possible.


Get experienced advice for your custody hearing by speaking with our Santa Maria custody attorney during a thorough case analysis!


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