When people speak of child custody, they are usually referring to physical custody. However, in California, child custody breaks down into legal custody and physical custody as follows:
When the parents are awarded joint legal custody of their child(ren) through the court system, it means that they are suppose to act in good faith, discuss, and and agree upon all issues of health, education, and welfare regarding their child. If they cannot agree, then in order to resolve whatever issue is outstanding, i.e., medical care, change of school, etc., they must go back to court to allow a Judge to rule upon that issue.
In regard to physical custody, physical custody is the parent having 51% or more actual custody of the minor child(ren). Either parent can file for physical custody of their child(ren) as both parents have the same rights to the child(ren). The Court will look at the best interest of the child(ren) to determine physical custody. If the situation warrants, either parent can request a child custody evaluation and/or minor’s counsel (the child(ren)’s own attorney) to help determine which parent should have physical custody of the child(ren).
The issue of child custody can be modified (changed) through the court system until the child involved has attained the age of eighteen.
Are you looking for background information on Child Custody? This link gives tips on How to Get Child Custody and Custody Plans, how Child Custody is organized different countries and more.