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Legal Custody deals with a parents ability to make decisions on behalf of a child. These are things like what school a child attends and what doctor a child goes to. The California Family Code section 3006 defines 'sole legal custody' as one parent having the right and responsibility to make all the decisions relating to health, education, and welfare of a child. Sole legal custody is often awarded to a parent if the other parent has been absent the child's life, has a history of drugs, or has a history of abuse.

Joint Legal Custody is the default and most typical form of legal custody in California and is coverd by California Family Code section 3003. Under joint legal custoy both parents share in the decision making and the courts are strict to enforce this. Parents with joint legal custody cannot make decisions regarding health, education, and welfare of a child by themselves, or 'unilaterally.' Courts will frown upon a parent who does not notify the other parent before making legal custody decisions because both parents have the right to be present and participate in the decision making process. For example, if a parent enrolls a child, or withdraws a child, from a school without notifying the other parent the court may see this as evidence of a parent being uncooperative which might jeopardize the offending parent's custody rights. In determining custoy rights and percentages one of the things the judge will look at is which parent is most likely to leave the other parent out of decision making regarding the child.

The Custody Lawyer lawyer will work with you to gain and/or protect your legal custody rights as need be.

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