California courts prefer to give both parents custody whenever possible. This type of joint custody, where both parents share an equal amount of parenting time, is commonly known as 50/50 custody. Below, we explain what it means to share 50/50 custody. To learn more, speak to a Fresno child custody attorney
at the Law Office of Rick D. Banks
Is Joint Custody and 50/50 Custody the Same?
To understand how child custody rights work, it's important to understand the two different types of child custody.
Legal custody gives parents the ability to make important decisions in their child's life. These decisions include what religion your child practices, where they go to school, and also gives you control over their healthcare choices. When parents are given joint legal custody, they will typically share an equal right in making these important decisions. That means that both parents must consult with each other and come to an agreement over difficult decisions. If the parents cannot come to an agreement, then the court will help work out a compromise. If you lose legal custody, then you will no longer have a say in these decisions; however you may still need to pay child support
Physical custody refers to your right to have your child live with you. When people talk about joint custody
, they are usually referring to physical custody. If one parent loses physical custody, they may still have visitation rights
. Visitation rights allows parents the ability to see their child, but they cannot take the child home for a prolonged time. Even in joint physical custody cases, one parent often has their child longer than the other parent. The parent with more time is known as a "primary custodial parent," or just "custodial parent" for short. A parent who solely has physical custody is also referred to as a "custodial parent".
50/50 Custody Is Ideal in the Eyes of Many Courts
Most courts see 50/50 custody as the ideal form of custody. This is because the court recognizes the importance both parents serve in raising their child. If both parents are capable and willing to parent, then they should both have an equal say in the important decisions concerning their child. However, sometimes factors can get in the way of this expectation. Unfortunately, pure 50/50 custody is not all that common. Many cases end up with one parent favored over the other. Most often, it is difficult to equally divide the time both parents spend with their child. Work schedules and the school week typically make it easier for one parent to have the kids during the week, and the other parent have the kids on the weekend. Because of this fact, other split forms of custody exist, such as 70/30 or 60/40.
How to Obtain 50/50 Custody in California
As mentioned above, getting 50/50 custody can be difficult. Typically, the court divides custody by the number of overnights, which means both parents must receive 182.5 overnights with their child. That half day alone makes pure 50/50 custody nearly impossible. Things become even more complicated when you factor in holidays and birthdays. These important times of the year will need to be alternated between both parents, which means one parent will inevitably miss out on something. The closer both parents live to each other, the easier it is to obtain 50/50 custody. This is because it makes it easier for the child to alternate houses every few days. If the custody agreement requires too much switching though, then the child may alternatively switch houses every week or two. Cases with more complicated schedules may require even more complex custody schemes. The court will heavily analyze the logistics of sharing joint custody. For instance, if one parent lives too far from the child's school, then court may elect for a split custody time instead, such as 60/40.
Disputes in parenting time can be some of the most contentious issues in child custody cases. In order to protect your rights as a parent, and get the parenting time you deserve, seek the legal advice of a family law attorney
. Contact the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks
today or call (559)222-4891