If you’re currently in the process of divorcing your former spouse and determining how to manage custody with your minor children, you may be concerned that this new arrangement will significantly impact your children and the bond you share with them. While one parent may retain primary custody of the children – caring for their well-being a vast majority of the time and likely obtaining child support payments to cover the cost of raising them – your custody plan should also include a description of your visitation rights. Working with Irvine family law attorneys who have experience negotiating child custody and visitation agreements will ensure you and your former spouse design a plan that works for your whole family.
In a child custody agreement, there are two major components regarding each parent’s responsibility: Physical custody, and legal custody. Legal custody refers to the ability to make decisions on behalf of the child, whereas physical custody will assign the children to live primarily with one parent. Some agreements allow for joint custody, meaning that parents will share this responsibility. These agreements allow for flexibility and sometimes parents choose to share joint legal custody while giving sole custody to one parent, in order to accommodate that parent’s busy work schedule, for example. In that instance, your child custody agreement would also provide explicitly for a visitation schedule.
What Does a Visitation Schedule Cover?
Irvine courts believe that frequent and continuous contact with a child’s parent is important to their development and well-being, and will insist upon a visitation schedule that allows for such contact. The types of visitation you might expect to see in your visitation schedule include:
- Scheduled visits: In this arrangement, you would work with your Irvine family law attorneys, your spouse, and the courts to design a set schedule that provides specific dates for when you can see your children. For example, this approach might award you weekend custody of your children every other weekend.
- Reasonable visitation: This agreement is more open-ended and allows the parents to define what works for them, without being too specific.
- Supervised visitation: In the event that one of the spouses represents somewhat of a threat to a child’s safety, a court may decide that all visits between this parent and their children require supervision by a third party.
How Do Irvine Family Law Attorneys Help Courts Decide Visitation?
Courts determine visitation rights based on a variety of factors, and it’s recommended that you work with attorneys who are knowledgeable about what the court wants to hear when designing a visitation agreement. In determining custody and visitation, the court will look to the age of the children, their health and emotional ties to their parents, their parents’ ability to care for them and their ties to the school, home, and community.
If you’re eager to carve out a visitation agreement that works for your family, our Irvine family law attorneys can help. Contact our offices today.