Child Custody Visitation Orders – CA Family Code 3100-3105
How Custody and Visitation Work in California
Custody matters may seem complex if you’ve never had to think about them before. And custody is a serious and sometimes contentious matter that can have a big effect on your future and your children’s futures. But it doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult if you have a good Southern California child visitation attorney.
Visitation orders are mainly for the parent who does not have primary physical custody of the child. If you spend more than half the time with your child, then you are designated the primary physical custodial parent. The other parent, who spends less than half of the time with your child, is given visitation rights.
In California, child custody can be determined in one of two ways. The easier way is for parents to agree on how they will share custody — with help from California divorce lawyers or a mediator, if necessary. If they can agree, parents will draw up a “parenting plan” that details how and when they will share custody of the children. When the parenting plan is finished, they submit it to the court for approval. This type of custody plan is likely to be denied only if the court feels it’s unfair, unrealistic or not in the best interests of the children. For example, a custody plan is not appropriate for parents who have problems with domestic violence, sexual abuse, substance abuse or neglect.
Generally, the court will grant visitation orders based on what is in the best interest of the child. The court will also consider your situation or the other parent’s situation in granting visitation orders, such as whether you or the other parent has a history of domestic violence or substance abuse. In most child custody cases, visitation orders are very specific. They will include not only when you or the other parent will see the child on a weekly basis, but also specific terms as to vacations, who will pay for transportation, where your child will be exchanged, a holiday visitation schedule, etc.
If parents can’t agree, or if they have serious problems that prevent effective discussions, a judge will decide how they will share custody. The judge’s decision is binding and not easy to change, so it is best to exhaust your options before going to court. However, the law requires judges to make custody decisions only in the best interests of the children. They must take into account the children’s ages, health, established school activities and emotional ties to the parents, as well as any abuse or neglect by parents and the parents’ ability to care for them properly. Judges do not automatically grant sole custody to the mother, despite what may have happened in the past. In California, judges are also not allowed to deny custody or visitation based on the parents’ lifestyles, religions, disabilities, marital status or sexual orientation.
Types of Visitation Orders
Visitation is exactly what it sounds like — the right to visit children for parents who don’t have physical custody for at least half of the time. For most parents, visitation is awarded without restrictions. However, if the parent has certain problems that put the child’s safety in doubt, or if the child hasn’t seen the parent in a long time, the court may order that visitation should be supervised by the other parent or another adult. Grandparents may also have visitation rights, depending on the circumstances.
There are different types of visitation orders that can be granted by a judge. The type of visitation order is based on the best interest of your child. These include:
1.Visitation according to a schedule: Visitation orders can be established through a schedule on which you and the other parent agree upon. You and the other parent, with the help of the court, can create a detailed visitation schedule. The visitation order details the dates and times the child will spend with you and the other parent. A visitation order may also specify which holidays you and the other parent will spend with your child.
2.Reasonable visitation: A visitation order may grant reasonable visitation, which means visitation is open-ended and you and the other parent can work out on how much time your child spends with you and the other parent. Courts usually grant reasonable visitation orders when the parents have separated amicably. In other words, when you and the other parent can cooperate with each other, have flexible schedules, and can communicate well with each other, the court will grant reasonable visitation. However, if there are any disagreements in the future, you and the other parent would have to go to court to settle the issue.
3.Supervised visitation: Sometimes, courts grant supervised visitation because your child’s safety and well-being could be harmed by either you or the other parent. The reasons for supervised visitation could be because you or the other parent has specific issues or because you or the other parent has not been in the child’s life and you want to reconnect with your child. Supervised visitation can also be granted in domestic violence situations. If you have primary physical custody of your child and the other parent has visitation rights, the other parent could be supervised by you, another adult, or by a professional agency.
4.No visitation: There are situations in which a court will not grant visitation because you or the other parent may physically or emotionally harm your child. Thus, no visitation orders are granted when it is in the best interest of your child to have no contact with you or the other parent.
Call the Child Custody Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich
The granting of visitation orders by a judge can depend on the arguments presented in court. If you are seeking a visitation order, you need an experienced child custody attorney to fight for you. The skilled child custody lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have dealt with child custody cases for over 30 years. With our knowledge and experience, you can rely on our promise to fight hard to achieve the best possible result in your case.
With offices located throughout the Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura, there is a Wallin & Klarich attorney available wherever you happen to live. To consult with a Wallin & Klarich lawyer today, please call us at (888) 749-7428. We will be there when you call.