Visitation Schedules in California

Torrance Child Custody & Visitation Firm Serving the South Bay Since 1977

Many children split their time between both parents following a divorce. Decisions regarding child custody arrangements must be made and agreed upon by both parents before the divorce is finalized. If there is a dispute over which parent should have custody, and this disagreement reaches the litigation stage, a judge in a California family court will ultimately determine the outcome.

California Family Code § 3020 requires the court to decree custody and visitation orders based on the health, safety, and welfare of the child. The court will look at your family's unique situation and then lay out a plan that best assures the interests of the child. There are two separate types of custody that the court can grant:

  • Legal custody gives a parent the right to make important decisions for the child, including choices pertaining to health and education.
  • Physical custody pertains to which parent a child lives with and the daily parenting responsibilities which come along with that.

The state of California prefers to grant joint legal and physical custody whenever possible because it has been demonstrated that the best interests of the child are best met when both parents are involved in their upbringing. Sometimes, however, this is not possible. One parent may not be safe for the child to live with, whether because of a history of domestic violence or drug and / or alcohol abuse. If you believe that your child is not safe with his or her other parent, it is important to retain the services of a Torrance divorce lawyer who can help you make a case as to why the judge should grant you sole legal and physical custody in order to protect your child.

Visitation Rights in California

The "primary custodial parent" is the parent who cares for the child more than half of the time. The parent with visitation rights is the parent who cares for the child less than half of the time. Visitation schedules vary widely. Every family is different. What works for your friend or co-worker may not work for your family. In one common schedule, noncustodial parents see their child every other weekend in addition to major holidays or school breaks on a bi-annual basis.

If circumstances have changed since your divorce, you may want to discuss the process of modifying existing orders with your attorney. Court decrees regarding custody or child support are not set in stone - they can be changed or adapted as your situation changes or your child ages. In fact, our attorneys recommend re-examining your court orders every year just to make sure that they are still serving their intended purpose and meeting your child's needs. For example, it may be several years since your separation, and your teenager's current school schedule or part-time job does not allow him or her to maintain a previous visitation schedule.

If your child's situation or needs have altered since the original orders were issued, it may be a good idea to rework your current custody plan in order to better meet your child's needs. A child custody attorney from our firm can help you determine the best way to modify a parenting time schedule. If you or your spouse are moving, we can discuss the repercussions and risks of relocation cases. Together, we can work to decide the best way for you to address move-away orders from a California family court.

Call a Torrance child custody lawyer from Patricia Barberis, A Law Corporation!

There is no reason to hesitate if you have questions about visitation rights or child custody. Receive answers to your questions today by consulting a legal professional at Patricia Barberis, A Law Corporation who has served California families since 1977. These are not insignificant issues: They impact your life and the lives of those you hold dear.

We understand how important these issues are to you. Colleen & Patricia Barberis are a mother-daughter legal team committed to pursuing the best interests of our clients. Whether you are facing an upcoming divorce or are interested in modifying former custody decrees, we are prepared to be your best advocate and to serve you and your child in your unique circumstance. Call our Torrance law firm today to set up an appointment with our respected South Bay lawyers.