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What is 50/50 Custody and Is it the Best Option for Your California Custody Case?

What is 50/50 Custody and Is it the Best Option for Your California Custody Case?

California judges prefer to give both parents partial custody whenever they can. In the case of joint custody, both parents who have equal parenting time are often said to have 50/50 custody. First, we will clarify if 50/50 custody and joint custody are really the same thing. Then we can discuss whether or not it may be the best option for your case. For more personalized help, reach out to Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908.

Is there a difference between 50/50 custody and joint custody?

First, you should know that there are two types of child custody. The first is legal custody, which gives a parent the right to make legal decisions for their child’s life. If parents have joint legal custody then they can both make decisions regarding health care, school, religion, etc. This does require parents to either come to a compromise on things they disagree on or get the courts involved to find a compromise. A person can lack legal custody yet still be required to pay child support.

The other type of custody is physical custody. This refers to a parent who actually has the child in their custody. Even when joint physical custody is established, it is common for one parent to have more time with the children than the other. They are then referred to as the custodial parent or the primary custodial parent.

50/50 custody is not as common as you may think

The courts find 50/50 custody to be ideal for many reasons. They like to see parents involved in their child’s life but this is not always an option. The truth is that pure 50/50 custody – where the child spend 50% of their time with each parent – is less common than many assume. Most of the time one parent will have primary custody. The question will be whether it will be split 60/40, 70/30, or any other way.

How to get 50/50 custody

If you do want 50/50 custody then you will need to sit down and figure out an arrangement that will do that. Note that custody divisions are counted by the number of nights a child sleeps in each house. 50% of the year would be 182.5 overnights, which as you can see is already complicated by the half day. Then you must decide how to split up holidays, birthdays, vacations, etc.

The bottom line is that if you want 50/50 custody then both you and the co-parent are going to have to give up some time with the child and miss certain important dates or holidays. That said, the upside is that you will get your child 50% of the time.

We can help you find the right custody agreement

We do not necessarily recommend focusing too much on getting exactly 50% custody. The goal is to find out how custody could work best in your life and the life of your child. If that ends up as 52% custody or 45% custody then it may be better for everyone than nitpicking to hit an arbitrary goal of 50%. To find out more how an attorney can help you find the right custody options, reach out to Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 now.


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My ex-wife hired an attorney which prompted me to do so for our divorce. Torrence Howell was highly recommended from a friend of mine who used Torrence’s services for a divorce just like mine. The results came out much better than he ever thought it would. With all things being equal I felt Torrence would

-Anonymous May 23, 2018

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