Child Custody

Child Custody and Visitation Issues

When divorcing couples have children, they must determine who will have custody and/or what type of visitation arrangement to put in place. California law grants two types of child custody: legal custody — the right to make decisions regarding the child’s care — and physical custody, or the amount of time spent with each parent.

Where the court grants joint legal custody, but not joint physical custody, the parent without physical custody usually has the right to visitation with the children. Visitation, also referred to as the visiting parent’s “time-share” with the children, refers to how the parent who has the children less than half of the time will spend time with the children.

Taking into consideration the “best interests of the child,” the parents’ situation and other factors, the court may award scheduled visitation, a more open-ended and flexible “reasonable” visitation or supervised visitation. If the court finds that contact with a parent would be physically or emotionally harmful to the children — even with supervision — it also can deny visitation completely.

Generally, parents make their own agreement for custody and visitation that becomes binding and enforceable on the parties upon court approval. Where the parties cannot agree, court-approved mediators often help them come to an agreement. If mediation is unsuccessful, the court will hold a hearing and issue its own custody and visitation orders. Changes to any of these court orders will also require a further agreement of the parties, or if no such agreement can be reached by the time a change is needed, then there will be a further court hearing on the reasons for such change and the best interests of the child(ren).

Given the wide variety of issues involved in allotting the responsibilities entailed in raising children, child custody and visitation matters can be a very stressful part of the divorce process. Christine McClane Tesi has the experience to handle any type of child custody and visitation case, from those involving disputes over financial, emotional and other issues to the most amicable situation. Talk with Ms. Tesi to discuss how she can protect your financial and parental rights, both now and in the future. Call today to schedule a consultation or use our Contact page to email us.

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