What Voids a Custody Agreement in California?

15Mar, 24

Going through a divorce or legal separation can be an extremely difficult time, especially if a child is involved and custody arrangements need to be made. Making it even more complicated, once an initial custody agreement is made, it does not always end there. For example, either parent can potentially violate the agreement and put the best interest of your child in jeopardy.

Understanding exactly what voids a custody agreement in California can help you decide what legal action may be necessary in order to secure the most favorable outcome for your child under the circumstances.

Types of Custody Agreements in California

In California, many different elements will factor into the court’s decision regarding a custody agreement. The primary factor is always acting in the child’s best interest.

Every custody arrangement rules on both physical and legal custody. Physical custody determines where the child will primarily live and which parent will take on the child’s day-to-day care duties. Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions on significant issues in regard to the child’s general upbringing, such as education, extracurricular activities, religion, and healthcare.

The following are different types of custody arrangements in California:

  • Sole Custody: This type of custody provides one parent with the exclusive ability to decide how to raise the child. Sole physical custody refers to when the child primarily lives with one parent, whereas sole legal custody is when one parent is the final decision-maker in important matters regarding the upbringing of the child.
  • Joint Custody: In this arrangement, both parents have equal rights to the child. In joint legal custody, each parent would share the decision-making rights in regard to the child’s upbringing, whereas joint physical custody would mean that each parent spends equal time with the child at their separate residences.
  • Split Custody: This is the least common custody arrangement because it means that each parent would have primary custody of a different child. The courts do not typically split up siblings from each other, as it does not usually fit the children’s best interests. There are, however, exceptions to this general rule.

Joint arrangements, also known as shared parenting, where parents equally share both physical and legal custody of a child, are usually the most favorable arrangement for the child. This arrangement does, however, require parents who have a positive relationship and can cooperate to make decisions for the child.

What Actions Can Void a Custody Agreement in California?

Ultimately, there are many actions that can void a custody agreement in California. There are specific state laws and rules in place to help courts evaluate whether or not a parent is deemed fit to continue parenting their child.

Here are some of the primary elements that can factor into voiding a custody agreement:

  • Child Neglect: Failure or inconsistency in providing basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and education, are all substantial indicators that a parent does not have the capacity to raise a child in a necessary manner.
  • Domestic Violence: Any form of violence- physical, verbal, psychological, sexual, or emotional abuse- can be used to void a custody agreement and deem a parent unfit to raise their child.
  • Substance Abuse or Addiction: Any abuse or excessive use of alcohol or illicit substances is a strong indicator that the parent does not have the proper capacity to care for their child.
  • Child Abduction: If either parent takes their child away without permission from the other parent, then the court can consider that action as child abduction. This is true even if they do not harm the child, as it is against any custodial agreement.
  • Violation of Court Orders: There may be unique clauses in a custody agreement. Any violations of court orders regarding the previously established custody agreement can be used as legal grounds to void the custody agreement.

It’s important to note that even after reaching a legal custody agreement, it is still possible to lose your custodial rights based on any of the above elements. If your custodial rights are being challenged or you feel that your co-parent has violated any elements of the existing custody agreement, then it’s essential for the interests of your child that you consult with an experienced Riverside child custody lawyer to walk you through your options and ensure the most favorable outcome possible for your child.


Q: What Deems a Parent Unfit in California?

A: California law has specific rules for evaluating whether or not a parent is fit to continue parenting their child. Determining whether a parent is unfit generally involves a variety of factors, such as the parent’s actions, the status of their home environment, and their ability to provide care and protection for their child.

Q: How Can a Mother Lose a Custody Battle in California?

A: There are several ways that a mother can lose custody in California. One of the more common ways is general neglect of the child’s welfare or inconsistency in providing basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, or education. Other ways a mother can lose custody are by substance abuse, violence in any form (physical, mental, verbal, or sexual), or incarceration.

Q: What Can be Used Against You in a Custody Battle in California?

A: There are a number of elements that can be used against a parent during the course of a custody battle in California. Among those elements are reluctance to cooperate with your co-parent, showing up late or rescheduling appointments, physical or verbal altercations, alienation of affection towards your child, and badmouthing your former partner to your child or anyone else.

Additionally, refusing to follow course orders, denying contact with the other parent, and removing the child from school or daycare without notifying the other parent are also factors that can impact a child custody battle.

Q: Can a Parent Keep a Child From the Other Parent Without a Court Order in California?

A: No, a parent cannot keep a child from the other parent without a court order in California. Without a court order, both parents maintain equal rights to their children, and it is unlawful for one parent to keep their children away from the other parent. It is also forbidden for one parent to deny the other some form of contact or visitation from the other parent.

Consulting With a Trusted Child Custody Lawyer

At the Law Offices of Michelanne Hrubic, our experienced family law attorney can help you reach a custody agreement that is built with your child in mind. We understand the personal importance of every child custody case and approach every circumstance with compassion.

Contact us to review your case.

Recent Posts



Contact Law Offices Of Michelanne Hrubic

How Can We Help You?

Fields Marked With An ” *” Are Required

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.