Child Custody FAQ’s from the California Court

There are some questions that come up so often related to child custody that the California Courts have actually established an FAQ page with the answers to these common issues. This article will highlight some of the questions and answers that are often asked, but the entire FAQ page can be accessed here:  


Does joint legal custody mean that we have to agree on everything?

  • Joint legal custody means that both parents share the right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the health, education and welfare of the child. 
  • As per the Court FAQ’s, since both parents each have the right to make decisions, they can make them alone. However, both parents should communicate and cooperate with each other in making decisions. 


If we have joint physical custody, do parents have to spend exactly 50% of the time with each parent?

  • There are several physical custody options: 1) joint, where the children live with both parents, 2) primary, where the children live with one parent most of the time and visit the other parent, and 3) sole, where the children live with only one parent and rarely visit the other parent. 
  • Joint physical custody does not necessarily mean that the children must spend exactly half of their time with each parent because splitting the time with mathematical exactness can be challenging. 

Will I pay less child support if I have the children more often?


  • The amount of time that the children are spending with you is a factor in calculating child support. 
  • In general , the more time you have with your children, the less child support you will have to pay under the theory that you are spending more money to support the child when they are with you. HOWEVER, the child support formula is not based only on time, but also other factors, such as the other parent’s income. 


Do you have questions about child custody or child support in California, or do you need help with other issues in a California divorce?  Contact the  Law Office of David Knecht. We have extensive experience with family law in California including divorce, child custody, modifications and more. Contact us at 707-451-4502 for more information.