Under California law, child custody has two parts: physical custody and legal custody. Either type of custody may be awarded to one parent or to both parents.
Legal custody means a parent’s/parents’ right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the health, education, and welfare of the child.
Physical custody means with which parent the child will be primarily residing.
Custody must be awarded according to the child’s best interest. It may not be awarded based on the factors that include but are not limited to the following: interests of the parents, achieving equity between the parents, punishing/rewarding a parent, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs of a parent.
Unless it is contrary to the best interests of the child, the court must ensure that minor children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the separation and/or dissolution and that both parents share the rights and responsibilities in child rearing.