Intra-State Custody Arrangements

No one likes to go through a divorce, but when two parents have to go their separate ways, they must reach an agreement regarding parenting and custody. Unfortunately, child custody arrangements are often one of the most emotionally charged and strongly contested issues in a divorce proceeding.

The decisions California courts make in custody hearings have proven to benefit the children, particularly in maintaining family bonds with both parents. For this reason, intra-state custody arrangements are often easier to make, whether the arrangement is based on joint or sole custody.

Negotiating Intra-State Custody Arrangements

It is understandable when you and your partner find it challenging to agree on a workable custody arrangement for your family. However, divorce often takes a huge toll on everyone involved – children, parents, friends, and other relatives. Therefore, it is a good idea to rely on lawyers with experience in negotiating custody cases to provide legal advice through the process.

The courts in California do not treat intra-state custody cases the same way they treat inter-state cases. This is because it is easier to maintain family bonds and manage custody agreements when both parents are based in the same state. In the children’s best interest, the geographical distance between the parents is viewed as a lesser burden to factor in the custody arrangement.

Many people often mistakenly believe that a custodial parent has the right to relocate to another state with the children. In reality, the law restricts this right. With an intra-state custody arrangement, the custodian may risk relinquishing custody to the non-custodial parent should they make an interstate move without the other parent’s or court’s approval.

Physical Custody in Intra-State Custody Arrangements

Physical custody is the most contentious matter for parents to agree to when making intra-state custody arrangements. This refers to the time that a child or children spend with each parent. In the best interest of the child, the law may decide with whom the child or children should live with based on a range of factors, including:

  • History of the child and where they go to school
  • How much each parent dedicates to the child
  • Any other factor that the court may consider relevant to decide.
  • The court may determine two types of physical intrastate custody arrangements: joint or sole custody.

Joint physical custody

In joint custody, the child or children will live with each parent. Both you and your partner will get to live with the child. The court will use the above criteria to determine the timeshare for each parent.

Sole physical custody

In some intra-state custody arrangements, the court may find it in the child’s best interest that one parent is awarded custody. The California Family Code §3007 provides guidelines for situations where it may make more sense for the child to live exclusively with one parent.

When both parents live in the same state, it is much easier for both parents to agree on the terms of exclusive sole custody, such as when there is evidence of abuse or drug use.

Legal Custody in Intra-State Custody Arrangements

The legal custody of children is a weighty issue on which both parents must agree during a custody negotiation. Legal custody means the parent’s right to make significant decisions regarding the child’s life. These include education, religious upbringing, and health.

When making intra-state custody arrangements, both parents may agree on which legal matters each parent can make. For instance, one parent may have full physical custody, but both must agree on where the child goes to school and which religious instructions they will receive.

You must have legal representation when negotiating legal arrangements for your child because the agreements arrived at are binding. Just like physical custody, there are two types of legal custody for parents in San Diego:

Joint legal custody

In this arrangement, both parents can make decisions that impact the child’s life. While the physical location of the non-custodial parent is not as relevant when making a legal decision, it helps in intra-state custody arrangements. It helps the case of the non-custodial parent to contribute to the decision-making on matters that regard the child’s welfare, education, and friend circles.

Sole legal custody

California Family Code §3006 defines sole legal custody as ‘when one parent has the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the welfare, health, and education of a child.’ Therefore, the court may choose to award one parent sole legal custody in situations where the parents cannot mutually agree on the child’s best interests.

Other Intra-State Child Custody Considerations

It is commendable when you and your partner come together to settle your child’s custody matter. It is more important, however, that you are comfortable with the arrangement. The court will make decisions based on the current agreement if you ever need to modify the intra-state custody arrangement.

Getting a good law firm to represent you in a custody matter will prove helpful now and in the future. Your custody lawyer will be best placed to negotiate a compromise on weighty issues and may provide a legal perspective to your expectations and demands. Besides, considering how emotionally charged a custody hearing can get, it is good to have a representative who believes in both your and your child’s best interest.

Your child will not benefit should a custody hearing become a protracted battle. Our law firm will help you focus on the points that matter to reach a more favorable settlement for you. Whether your partner chooses to be cooperative or not, California law should work in favor of you and the child.

Contact an Experienced Intra-State Law Firm in San Diego Today

Disputes regarding custody of your child can be a frustrating and emotionally draining battle. However, your child needs you, and you only want the best for them. Unfortunately, many parents give up more than they are comfortable with without learning how favorable the custody decision could have been with better representation.

Whether you are trying to get custody of the child, to be able to write a visitation agreement, a third-party child custody or Intrastate Custody Agreements, getting a lawyer can be in your favor. The lawyer will know exactly how to present your case in family court in the best possible light, thus increasing your chances for custody or visitation.

Contact our lawyers at to learn more about getting sole or joint custody of your child.

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