Former MLB and NFL legend, Deion Sanders, is use to battling to the top. But this time, his three children were on the line. As we have previously blogged, Sanders filed for divorce in 2011. Luckily for Sanders, he came out on top again when a Texas judge recently awarded him full custody of his 9 year old daughter. Sanders had also previously been awarded full custody of his two sons, 11 and 13, but had only been given joint custody of his daughter with estranged wife, Pilar. This leaves us to wonder, what exactly does Sanders’ “full custody” award entail? As divorce attorneys know, in California, two types of custody exist: “legal” and “physical”. Each type of child custody may be awarded solely to one parent or shared jointly between divorcing parents.
Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make decisions about the child’s health, welfare and education. If a parent is awarded “sole legal custody” by the court, then he/she is the only one who has the right to make such decisions and may do so without consulting with the other parent. However, when divorcing parents are awarded “joint legal custody,” they both have the right to make decisions about the child’s health, welfare, and education.
Since Sanders has been awarded sole legal custody of all three children, he now has full range to make decisions about where the kids will go to school, whether they should receive medical care and whether they will engage in religious activities, without consulting with Pilar.
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Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to where the child lives after divorce. The parent who has physical custody is the one who has the right to have the child physically with them and in their home. Physical custody, like legal custody, can be awarded solely to one parent or shared jointly. When a divorce lawyer makes an argument for “Sole physical custody,” this means that the child will reside with only one parent. That parent is typically referred to by attorneys and the court as the “custodial” or “residential” parent. Divorce lawyers and judges refer to the other parent as the “non-custodial” or “non-residential” parent. It is important to note that the court can still order visitation time for the non-custodial parent.
“Joint physical custody” means that a child’s time is divided equally, or close to equally, between both parents. Family lawyers in San Diego will draft such custody orders so that each parent has separate but significant periods of physical custody. Typically, parents share joint legal custody of their children. Divorce attorneys will argue for sole legal custody if one parent is deemed unfit, the parents are completely unable to make decisions together, or it would be in the child’s best interest to have sole legal custody with one parent. For Sanders, winning the child custody battle with Pilar now means that all three kids will be living with dad!
If you are seeking full custody of your children, please contact us. Nancy J. Bickford is the only San Diego divorce attorney the county representing clients in divorces, who is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) and who is actively licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Don’t settle for less when determining your rights to your children. Call 858-793-8884 in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, North County or San Diego.