Visitation Rights in California
Many parents will spare no expense when it comes to fighting for child custody or visitation rights for their children. While dividing assets and setting spousal support are important, nothing compares to maintaining their relationship with their kids or having the means to support them.
The Orange County family law attorneys at Johnson Attorneys Group take the time to educate clients about California family law and how it applies to their case so they are prepared for potential outcomes.
Parents and their Relationships with Children
Johnson Attorneys Group believes children can benefit from a strong and healthy relationship with both of their parents. While one parent may believe that they should spend more time with the children than the other parent because they were the primary caretaker, it’s important they understand punishing one parent doesn’t help the family as a whole. Parents who were not the primary caretaker may need time to adjust their schedule and allow the child to adapt. Nevertheless, most parents can slowly work up to a 50/50 custody arrangement with the children. Where there is no evidence of abuse or neglect, the courts will give most parents the opportunity to rise to the occasion and become an involved parent.
There may be some parents who are not capable of caring for their children for substantial periods of time. Perhaps they are abusive, have problems with substance abuse, or are involved in criminal activity. In these types of cases, the court may require protective orders or award sole custody to one parent. Even so, most parents will get some visitation time, even if that visitation time is professionally or informally supervised.
At Johnson Attorneys Group, our family law attorneys will work with you to secure frequent and continuing contact with your children. We have a full understanding of visitation rights in California and understand that the decisions made in your case may have a profound effect on your children and their future.
California Child Custody and Visitation Laws
Parents who break up, separate, or divorce will need a court order that reflects the visitation schedule for parenting time. The orders are agreed to in writing by the parties or are entered by the court after reviewing the circumstances of the case. Parenting time or visitation orders should detail how much time each child will spend with each parent, where and when exchanges will take place, and what visitation will look like for holidays. The parenting plan will reflect the parenting “timeshare percentage” that will be used to determine child support payments. If the parties cannot agree on a plan themselves, one party will need to file a Request for Order with the court to determine custody and visitation. Before a hearing on the matter, the parties are required to meet with a Family Court Services (FCS) mediator to help the parties reach an agreement without a judge’s help. If they still cannot agree on a schedule, the case will go before a California family law judge who will make a determination on child custody and parenting time according to what is in the best interests of the children.
It’s important that parents understand the difference between physical custody and legal custody in California.
Visitation Rights in California: Physical Custody Vs. Legal Custody
The courts in California will award custody of children based on what is in their best interests. A secondary concern is maintaining a relationship with both parents if it will be beneficial to the children. Gender cannot be considered by the court, so mothers do not automatically get custody of children over fathers. Factors that a judge takes into consideration include the age of the child, their health, emotional ties to their parents, ability of the parent to care for the child, history of violence or substance abuse, school ties, and community ties.
Physical custody outlines a parent’s rights to have their child live with him or her. The parents may equally share physical custody or one may be the sole custodian and the other will have visitation rights. This could be scheduled as agreed by the parties, professionally or informally supervised, and no visitation will be permitted whatsoever in rare cases where there is potential harm to the child.
Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make health and welfare decisions on behalf of their children such as what school they will attend, extracurricular activities, and medical needs.
- Joint legal custody: This is a shared arrangement where both parents decide what’s best for their children. Parents may make decisions on their own, but they should communicate with the other parent or disagreements may wind up in mediation or back in front of a judge.
- Sole legal custody: This is when a single parent has the responsibility to make decisions for their child.
Visitation in California
There are some cases that involve abuse or neglect. A judge may give sole physical custody to one parent and grant the other parent limited or supervised visits. In very serious cases, there may be no visitation at all. If one parent is limited to supervised visitation, their legal custody rights are likely limited as well. This may not always be the case and is based on the facts of each given case.
Contact Our Orange County Child Custody Lawyers Today
Johnson Attorneys Group understands that visitation rights in California can seem complicated. We can help parents through this difficult time by helping you prepare arguments for your physical and legal custody arrangements. Our Orange County family lawyers are skilled negotiators with experience handling disagreements over child custody, visitation, child support, parentage, and more. We are located in Newport Beach and help clients all across Orange County. Call us to discuss how to obtain custody and visitation orders that are right for your family at (949) 942-8784 .