Custody and Visitation

CUSTODY CAN BE A DIFFICULT AND DIVISIVE PROCESS,

BUT REMEMBER: PUT YOUR CHILDREN’S WELFARE FIRST

  • Never use your children as a weapon against your spouse.
  • Assure your children they are not to blame for the breakup, and are not being rejected or abandoned by either parent.
  • Be sure your children have ample time with the other parent. They need it.
  • Don’t introduce your children to your new romantic interest until the children have adjusted to your separation and your new relationship is stable.
  • Don’t bring your children to court or to your lawyer’s office.

In the family court arena, nothing is more important to the parties than custody issues regarding their children.

In cases involving child custody in California, the court (or the parties by agreement) will determine two types of child custody: legal custody and physical custody. In California, the primary consideration of the court in determining custody matters is the best interests of the child. In order to determine the best interests of the child(ren), the court will consider specific factors outlined in California’s statutes.

Visitation

Parents who are denied custody of their children are often entitled to generous visitation rights, unless visitation with the non-custodial parent does not serve the child’s best interests. The child’s welfare is the court’s primary concern with custody and visitation matters. Parents may be denied visitation rights for the following reasons:

A court finds evidence of domestic violence that was directed toward the child, the child’s parent, or a sibling

• The parent has a history of alcohol or drug abuse

• The parent’s parental rights have been terminated

Here is some more information about visitation rights:

Visitation Schedule

After visitation has been established, a court may issue a visitation schedule which gives a detailed account of when parents can exercise visitation rights. A visitation schedule may allow non-custodial visitation rights on:

• Weekends or alternative weekends

• Holidays

• Summer vacations

It’s always best for parents to determine a visitation schedule together. However, if parents are unable to communicate with each other, a family court judge will determine an appropriate visitation schedule.

Types of Alternative Visitation Rights

Restricted visitation rights: Custodial parents may want to restrict visitation for non-custodial parents for several reasons including medical concerns, age of a child, or because a non-custodial parent may be institutionalized.

Supervised visitation rights: A court may order supervised visitation rights for a parent which includes court-ordered contact between a parent and a child that is supervised by another person. A court will generally order supervised visitation rights if the parent poses a danger to the child.

Overnight visitation rights: Some custodial parents may be reluctant to allow a non-custodial parent to have a child for overnight visits. A court will determine whether a custodial parent has legitimate concerns and reach a decision on overnight visitation accordingly.

Modifying Visitation Rights

If the current visitation rights are no longer desirable for either parent, the parent should seek a modification of visitation rights by starting a case in family court. Additionally, a parent should communicate openly about possible changes to the visitation schedule with the child’s other parent.

Parental Visitation Attorney Michael J. Lowy

Michael J. Lowy can help navigate through issues of legal decision-making. Call today for a consultation: (650) 856-6262.