Divorcing parents in California have many decisions to make, and a big one is how to divide custody of their children. This is often an emotional decision, but parents may have an easier time if they consider what is best for each child.

According to the California Courts, the court encourages parents to figure out a custody agreement themselves, and that a judge will usually approve it if both parents agree on the plan. Not only do parents need to make a decision regarding sole or joint custody, but also regarding the type, such as legal and physical, of custody.

If the agreement states that one parent has physical custody of the child less than 50% of the time, the parents must also decide on visitation. Typically, a scheduled plan works best because it helps reduce confusion, stress and conflict. However, a visitation order can be one that does not have a detailed schedule. In rarer cases, the visitation may require supervision or not be allowed at all.

When making a custody agreement, the parents should consider what is best for the child. If the judge is the one making the decision, he or she must do what is in the child’s best interest.

Very Well Health outlines what factors the judge looks at when making this decision. The factors include:

  • Age of children
  • Relationship quality with each parent
  • Physical and mental well-being of the child and each partner
  • The capacity of each parent to provide a stable and loving home
  • The impact the decision will have on the child’s current environment
  • Willingness of each partner to allow the child contact with other parent

The judge may also consider both the parents’ wishes and the child’s wishes, if of a mature age.