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Common Schedules California Judges Order for Joint Physical Custody

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California child custody cases will hinge on the best interest of the child. Using this standard, the judge will award either sole or joint physical custody of the child. Physical custody refers to where your child resides physically, where they live and where they receive their everyday care. An order of sole physical custody means that the child lives with one parent and that parent is the custodial parent. The child’s other parent typically has designated visitation time and is referred to as the non-custodial parent. In some cases, the judge will award joint physical custody.

What is Joint Physical Custody? Unless a parent can show evidence that sole custody is in the best interest of the child, most judges prefer to award joint physical custody. Being awarded joint physical custody does not necessarily mean that both parents will receive equal parenting time, but it does mean that both parents share responsibility for providing physical care for the child and have substantial and frequent time with the child.

When Does Joint Physical Custody Work? Joint physical custody can work well in many cases. It is best if both parents agree joint physical custody is in the best interest of the child, when parents cooperate and make decisions together, when parents live relatively close to each other and the joint arrangement is logistically possible, when there is no history of abuse, domestic violence or kidnapping, and when both parents want to be actively involved in raising their child.

Common Joint Physical Custody Schedules: When divorced parents are awarded joint physical custody of their child, the custody order will include a parenting time schedule that outlines when the child will spend time with each parent. Some common parenting time schedules for joint physical custody include:

  • Alternating Weeks Schedule: The child lives with one parent one week and the other parent the next week.
  • Two Weks Schedule: Similar to the alternating weeks schedule, but instead of switching from one parent to the next after one week, the child spends two weeks with one parent and then spends the next two weeks with the other. 
  • 2-2-3 Schedule: The child lives with one parent for two days, the other parent for two days and the parents alternate covering the remaining three days of the week/three day weekend.
  • 2-2-5-5 Schedule: The child lives with one parent for two days, the other parent for two days and then the first parent for five days, followed by five days with the second parent.
  • 3-4-4-3 Schedule: The child lives with one parent for three days, the other parent for four days, then the first parent for four days, then the second parent for three days.
  • Every Weekend Schedule: The child lives with one parent during the week and the other parent for an extended weekend.
  • 4-3 Schedule: The child lives with one parent for four days and the other parent for three days.

If you have other questions about what to expect in your California child custody case or if you need help preparing for your custody hearing, please get in touch with one of the experienced divorce and child custody attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm as soon as possible.

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