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DID YOU KNOW BY FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY F.M. ZAVALA

SOLE LEGAL CUSTODY IN CALIFORNIA FAMILY LAW CASES

Under California Family Code § 3006

"A parent with “sole legal custody” of a child has “the right and . . . responsibility to make . . . decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of [that] child.” ) A noncustodial parent has none of these rights.


To acquire them, the noncustodial parent must obtain joint legal custody by filing a Request for Order to Modify Custody.


To do that, the noncustodial parent has the burden and must demonstrate to the Court that a significant change in circumstances warrants a new custody arrangement that is in the child’s best interest.


The non-custodial parent must secure joint legal custody by showing a significant change in

circumstances showing that a new custody arrangement would be in the child’s best interests.. (See Burchard v. Garay (1986) 42 Cal.3d 531, 535 [once initial custody order is in place, court must “preserve the established mode of custody unless some significant change in circumstances indicates that a different arrangement would be in the child’s best interest”].)


“Joint legal custody,” in contrast, means that both parents share those rights and responsibilities. (California Family Code § 3003.)


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