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Child Custody in California:
How Custody and Visitation Work

Whether you’re going through a divorce or ending the relationship with the father or mother of your child, you probably have questions about your rights to child custody and visitation, also known as time-sharing in California. You need a knowledgeable child custody lawyer to help you make decisions that are best for your children, minimizing interruptions in their lives while safeguarding your bond with them.

We Offer Comprehensive Representation

Serving clients throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area, the Law Offices of David M. Lederman can advise and represent you in the following areas:

  • Making your case for primary or joint custody of your children a priority
  • Develop time-sharing plans that provide guidance and flexibility
  • Help with paternity issues as it relates to child visitation rights
  • Help navigate child custody disputes that cross state and international borders, including Hague Convention cases
  • After a paternity issue is taken care of, there’s still a possibility we’ll have to help clients enforce court orders. In other cases, a former client may come back for help with a modification to relocate for work.

Determining What’s Best for Your Children

Sharing children with an ex is never an easy situation. The most important thing you can do when discussing child custody is to ensure your children are the primary focus and that their needs will be met (if a court is required to decide, he or she will make decisions on his or her perspective as to what that “best interest is.”)

Letting go of the negative things that led to the divorce will help you both make sure you’re doing what’s best for the kids. Although it’s not easy forgiving actions from the past, for the best interest of your children, it would be wise to learn how to focus on the dynamic you and your ex-partner have now compared to when you were married.

Determining what schedule your children will follow is sometimes one of the most difficult decisions you and your ex will make. Your child’s daily routine and activities are factors you’ll have to consider when creating a schedule that works for both you and your ex-partner.

Your child’s school schedule and extracurricular activities are important factors you’ll need to consider. Also, think about the distance you and your ex live from each other in relation to the places your children may need to go for extra-curricular or other activities.

Everyone is different and there are a few common joint custody schedules that people use, but these might only be a starting point for your schedule. Remaining flexible and willing to change things to adhere to your child or children’s needs is beneficial for everyone involved.

There are some parents, for example, who use a schedule where their child spends a full week with each parent. This allows the child time to adjust to the new home or living environment. However, some mental health practitioners note that more frequent moves from one parent to the other are beneficial for younger children.

Some parents use a 2-2-3 or a 2-2-5 schedule. With this schedule, the child spends two days with parent A, then two days with parent B, then three or five days with parent A before starting the cycle over. This time, parent B starts the cycle with two days, then parent A has two days, then parent B has three or five.

If things work out, you may be able to use the same schedule the whole year, but sometimes parents find that adjustments need to be made depending on the time of year.

Adjustments can include incorporating holidays and summer vacation into the schedule, or even creating a whole new plan when school starts.

These are all things to consider, but most importantly, remember to set a schedule that works for the children now. You can use a modification later if changes need to be made due to the factors listed above.

When parents go through a divorce or separation, their marital relationship finishes, however, they are still co-parents. Despite what exes may feel about each other, they still need to continue raising their children in a healthy way either in separate households or not, depending on their housing circumstances.

This means ensuring their children get the proper medical care they need. The problem that arises when dealing with the healthcare of children is that some parents may go about their child’s healthcare needs differently. Usually, issues arise over whether parents should vaccinate their children against different diseases or not.

There have been cases where divorced parents in California have gone to family court because one parent was for vaccinating their child and the other parent was not.

With regards to physical custody of your children, your parenting plan should contain information about where the children should be on a day-to-day basis, and where they should be during holidays and vacations.

Outline which parent will fill some domestic duties like taking the children to their after-school activities or medical or dental appointments.

Also, provide a detailed reason concerning your plans for transferring the children from one home to the other.

In terms of legal custody, outline how you and your ex will handle making major decisions concerning the children and their needs.

After a divorce, a huge concern is about the welfare of the upbringing of the children. Creating an effective parenting plan can help streamline any responsibilities that come with child custody and visitation, ultimately making the impact of the divorce easier for the children.

Parenting Plan Guidelines

In California, a parenting plan is known as a “custody and visitation agreement,” by the courts. It’s a well-written guide to help both parties navigate handling the children and building a new family structure after the divorce. The plan gives parents a schedule for time-sharing with their children and also outlines how to go about making major decisions regarding welfare, education, and health.

Approving the Parenting Plan/Custody and Visitation Agreement

After you both agree and sign the custody and visitation agreement, it will be filed with the court after a judge approves and signs it. Parenting plans should contain a large number of details, but also be flexible to accommodate other changes that may occur in your child’s life.

Divorce is difficult for the children involved. An effective parenting schedule will ensure they know what to expect out of this big change in their life, and also help them adjust to a new routine.

At the Law Offices of David M. Lederman, we care about your future. We want to help you make a successful transition to life after divorce by providing you with the answers and solutions you need to navigate the complex landscape of divorce. We will protect your interests to ensure you get the best outcome possible, whether you need help related to custody, visitation, spousal support, domestic violence, or more. Do not delay. Contact one of our divorce attorneys in Moraga or Antioch by calling 925-522-8889 today.

Family Law Specialists Dedicated to Helping You Navigate the Challenges of Divorce