Nothing about a divorce is easy. If you’ve ever been through the dissolution of a marriage, then you know just how difficult it can be. Tempers flare, emotions run high, and all the while the stresses of your day-to-day life continue. Even when your divorce is finalized, you have to move on to the task of creating a new life and letting go of the one you had before.
If your marriage involved children, a divorce can be even more difficult. Not only do you have to handle your own emotions, you must often take a backseat to the interests of your children. Nothing encapsulates this more than establishing child visitation rights.
Even in the most amicable divorces, creating a visitation schedule that works for you, your ex, and your children can be a trying task. However, there are a number of resources that can aid you along the way, and understanding the ins-and-outs of child visitation can help you manage expectations and focus on the well-being of your children.
How Child Visitation is Usually Decided
Courts always prefer for parents to develop and agree to visitation schedules on their own. If you are going through a divorce, there is no legal obligation to establish a binding visitation schedule. However, this requires you to be able to communicate with your spouse, and to work together to establish a schedule that focuses on the best interests of your children.
When it is not possible to work out a schedule on your own, the California courts provide a legal method for establishing visitation rights. This is done through the development of a custody and visitation agreement, often called a “parenting plan.”1 This plan includes visitation schedules and agreements about the decision-making rights of each parent.
The plan is submitted to a judge, who will award custody based on the “best interest of the child.” This includes considering the age and health of the child, emotional ties between the parents and child, ties to home, school, and community, as well as the ability for the parents to care for the child and any history of family violence or substance abuse.
Once the court grants custody and approves the parenting plan, all orders become legally binding. But what happens if issues arise after visitation rights are established?
Common Issues with Child Visitation Rights
Some of the more common problems that arise with child visitation are best dealt with privately. This can include arriving or dropping off the kids late, and cancellations or refusals to see the children.2 If it is possible for you and your ex to work through these issues together, it will often result in a more amicable parenting environment.
Some issues are more serious, and should be addressed by the courts. If your ex is refusing to allow you to visit with the children, consistently failing to uphold the parenting plan approved by the court or if you see signs of abuse, then it is time to contact an attorney who can help you get or change a custody or visitation order from the court.
If there are ongoing visitation issues or if you and your ex are having a hard time communicating and developing a parenting plan, you may want to seek a modification of custody and visitation rights. If your child’s other parent is consistently failing to abide by court orders, your attorney may be able to help obtain more custody rights with your child.
Call a Wallin & Klarich Family Law Attorney Today
At Wallin & Klarich, we have over 30 years of experience successfully representing clients in child custody and visitation cases. We can help you, too.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney can help you no matter your location.
Call us at (888) 749-7428 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.