Irvine Visitation Lawyer
Child custody and visitation are two of the most sensitive issues for most divorcing couples due to the extremely strong bond between parents and their children. Because divorce is often hardest on children, the law goes to great lengths to minimize the potentially detrimental effects a divorce can have on a child’s relationship with his or her parents. To maintain those relationships, courts frequently grant visitation orders. In order to ensure that you get the amount of visitation time that is most fair to you, it is best to consult with an Irvine visitation lawyer.
How Does Custody Impact Visitation?
When discussing visitation, is it important to note the distinction between legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions for a child, such as healthcare and education. Physical custody refers to where the child lives. Joint legal custody means that both parents share the rights and responsibilities of making important decisions for their children, whereas sole custody means that only one parent has the right to make those decisions. Physical custody can also be joint, where the child resides with both parents, or sole/primary, where the child resides with one parent most or all of the time and visits the other parent.
Visitation Orders in California
The law assumes that frequent and continuing contact with both parents is in the best interests of the child, absent a showing to the contrary. As such, the parent who has physical custody of the child less than half of the time may have one of the following types of visitation:
- Scheduled visitation: The court establishes a set schedule of visitation to avoid potential conflicts and confusion
- Reasonable visitation: An open-ended visitation order that leaves the details of the visitation schedule up to the parents. These orders are used most often when the parents get along and can be flexible with their schedules.
- Supervised visitation: A type of visitation order that requires a third party to be present for the child’s safety and wellbeing. These orders are frequently used in cases where there is a history of domestic violence.
In some cases, the court may find that visitation (even supervised visitation) would be harmful to the child’s safety or wellbeing and order no visitation.
Determining How to Split Visitation
Once you and your former spouse are ready to mediate and design a schedule, there are certain questions you will need to ask yourself. For example, where will the children go to school, and who lives closer? How will you organize yourselves around your kids’ after-school or extracurricular activities? How will school vacations be dealt with? Who takes over when something unexpected comes up, such as a day off school you weren’t planning for or your child is sick? How will holidays work? Will it be important for the parents to live near one another? How will child support be divided?
Answering these questions is key to designing a visitation schedule that works for your family. It will guide where you and your ex will choose to live and how holidays, emergencies or unexpected occurrences will be handled.
Our Irvine Visitation Lawyer Will Help You Draft a Feasible Schedule
Whatever you decide, having very specific guidelines regarding how your child’s time will be split is key to ensuring that everyone is happy. A sample schedule might include having one parent live with the child during the school year, while the other parent gets them every other weekend and for a month during summer vacation. Perhaps the parents alternate how the child spends birthdays (one year the child stays with one parent, and the next year with the next) and decide that one parent has the ultimate responsibility of being with the child when they are sick.
How Do Courts Decide Visitation?
Traditionally, courts typically granted physical custody to the mother and visitation rights to the father, but that practice has waned in modern times. As with all decisions affecting children in the family law system, courts decide custody and visitation issues based on the best interests of the child. This requires consideration of:
- The child’s age
- The child’s health
- The emotional ties between the parents and the child
- The ability of the parents to care for the child
- The child’s ties to school, home, and community
In some cases, courts are even willing to grant visitation rights to third parties (i.e., not the child’s parents, stepparents, or grandparents) if it can be shown that doing so would be in the child’s best interests.
How Will Your Irvine Visitation Attorney Help Your Case?
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.
Be sure to provide your Irvine visitation lawyer with as much information as possible in order for the firm to present your best argument to the court.
Contact an Irvine Visitation Lawyer Today
If you are concerned about your ability to maintain a healthy relationship with your child after a divorce, you should speak to an attorney. To get started, contact an Irvine visitation lawyer at Seastrom Tuttle & Murphy by using our online form or calling us at 949-474-0800.