When a divorce or separation involves children, the issues of child custody and visitation are critical. In California, there is a presumption in family law that the “best interests of children” are served by frequent and continuing contact with both parents. However, the court takes into consideration all of the facts of each case to determine the most appropriate child custody arrangement and timeshare schedule.
Parental Agreements in a Divorce or Separation
If you have children with a spouse or domestic partner and are seeking a divorce or legal separation, you will need to agree on child custody and visitation frequency. If you are unable to agree, a judge will make orders regarding custody and visitation.There are many factors that must be considered in determining appropriate custody and visitation, including:
- The child’s age
- The relationship between the child’s parents
- The relationship of the child with each parent
- Living arrangements for stability and safety
- Any psychological, developmental or physical needs
Resolving Custody & Visitation
There are many ways for parents to resolve child custody and visitation agreements. If the two parties are separating or divorcing amicably, then mediation or private judging may provide the best solution. If both parties agree to hire a mediator, the process of finding a mutually agreeable custody solution is efficient. It also may avoid unnecessary disruption for the child.
However, custody issues can be difficult to resolve. Parents love their children and find it hard to give up being a part of a child’s everyday life. If the parties are in dispute – where they cannot agree on child custody or visitation terms — then court involvement may be necessary.
Remember, the court seeks to find the solution that is in the “best interest of the children.” As a result, custody decisions are usually made early in the divorce proceedings to avoid unnecessary disruptions to a child’s everyday life. In California, when the parents go to Court because they cannot agree on custody or visitation, the Judge is required to send the parents to Family Court Services (FCS) in most cases.
Types of Child Custody
There are different types of child custody and visitation, including:
- Joint physical custody – where both parents have significant periods of physical custody of the child
- Sole physical custody – where the child lives primarily with and is under the supervision of one parent
- Joint legal custody – where both parents retain the right and responsibility to make decisions related to the health, education and welfare of the child
- Sole legal custody – where one parent has the right and responsibility to make decisions related to the health, education and welfare of the child
Consultation with a Family Law Expert
The attorneys at Viola Law can help you throughout the divorce process including child custody and visitation agreements. While dissolving a marriage or domestic partnership is never easy, you’ll have us by your side every step of the way.
Your first step is to call us. We’ll begin with an initial conversation, gathering information about your situation. We will schedule a meeting at our office. We will determine and advise you on how best to proceed. As your legal representative, we always keep your information private and confidential.
Viola Law for Your Child Custody & Visitation Agreement
Viola Law has a reputation for personalized service. We’re sensitive to our clients’ needs. We’ve helped thousands of families in San Mateo County and the surrounding Bay Area counties over 28+ years, guiding them through all aspects of marriage planning, divorce, child custody and visitation agreements, spousal support, property division, and divorce settlements. We have experienced family law attorneys available including a mediator and private judge.
Have more questions about child custody and visitation agreements? Check out our Child Custody and Visitation Q&A.