California, like many other states, has a set of laws specifying the child custody rules. In California, the California Family Code says that the court can make any order that seems necessary or proper-Sec. 3022 concerning a child that is still a minor during a divorce proceeding or afterward.

The court, when it makes decisions, is guided by several basic statutory principles. First of all, the court is assumed to keep the child's safety welfare in mind as their primary concern. The fundamental purpose of the court is to assure the child's health, safety, and welfare. This policy is a companion to the California legislature finding that child abuse and domestic violence are detrimental to children.

The court is also deemed to ensure that the child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents. This policy is OK to abandon; however, when seeing one parent would be damaging to the child's safety and welfare. When assigning custody, the court has several options concerning the type of custody. There are three main types of custody arrangements, all with subsets; Sole Custody Orders, Joint Custody Orders, and Non Parent Custody Orders.


  1. Sole custody orders can be exclusive, legal, or physical.
  2. Exclusive orders give custody to one parent. That one parent is given primary physical control of the child and the right and responsibility of making legal decisions regarding the child's residence, health, education, and welfare. The noncustodial parent's visitation rights are secondary and are mandated by the judge.
  3. Sole physical custody grants the child's sole physical custody to one parent without the legal aspect. The child lives with one parent and is supervised by the same, but the parent is not granted sole decision-making authority on other issues concerning the child.
  4. Sole legal custody grants one parent the absolute right and duty to make decisions regarding a child's health, safety, and education. Still, the parent does not have the child's exclusive physical custody.
  5. Joint custody orders can be purely joint, joint legal, or joint physical.
  6. Pure joint custody orders give neither parent sole physical or legal custody. Both parents are given the authority to control and to supervise their children. Also, the physical presence of the child is shared.


  1. Joint legal custody grants both parents the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the child's health, education, and welfare. One parent is generally given primary physical custody of the child.
  2. Joint physical custody gives each parent significant periods of physical custody. Despite the name, the child's time might not be divided equally with each parent.
  3. Nonparent custody orders are not given lightly. Under certain circumstances, custody of the child is given to a nonparent who is then given exclusive responsibility for the child's care and control. The parents, at best, will have reasonable rights to visitation.

Whenever you find yourself in the tough situation of battling family disputes, it is important to consider the specifics and desire to respond to your case to move on a successful path to your future. If you need an experienced, devoted, and motivating child custody attorney in Orange, CA, to represent you, please call 1-714-733-7066, the law office of Jos Family Law.