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How do I get custody of my child?

Custody litigation is emotionally challenging and expensive. Parties should make a dedicated effort to reach a custody agreement outside of litigation. If this is impossible, a court will determine if and how the parents share legal and physical custody. (Legal custody refers to the ways that parents share major decisions regarding the health, safety, and welfare of their children. Physical custody refers to the amount of time each parent spends with their children.)

California courts will look to the “best interest of the child” when determining the appropriate custody and visitation schedule. There is no statutory definition of “best interest of the child” but there are factors that a court must consider.