California parents who are in the middle of a divorce will have a lot to think about, but children need to come to the forefront. A significant portion will center on child custody and parenting time.
Once the custody arrangement is determined, the other parent will generally be granted regular visits with the child. The circumstances will dictate the extent of the contact and there will be a schedule the parents are expected to adhere to. Knowing how to craft a plan is key from the beginning.
What kind of parenting time schedules are available?
In California, the objective is for the child to have contact with both parents provided it serves the child’s best interests. With that, there are several ways in which that relationship can be facilitated.
Many parents and children function better with a schedule in place. This will add a layer of predictability and account for the child and the parents’ needs with school, work, extracurricular activities and other challenges that might arise. For example, the child might reside with one parent during the week and be with the other parent for weekends. They could decide beforehand how vacations and holidays will be arranged.
Another strategy is called reasonable parenting time. There is no set schedule. The parents will discuss the situation and decide in real time. Some parents might not be able to use this type of arrangement due to lingering resentment from the marriage or because their own schedules do not make it feasible. Still, for parents who can discuss their needs and work together, it could be viable.
Not every case is easy and if the child might be in danger through abuse, neglect or the possibility of abduction, then supervised visitation could be warranted. The other parent can supervise the visits or it could be another adult or someone in a professional capacity. In extreme cases, there will be no visitation at all. If the parents cannot agree, the court will decide.
Parents should prepare their family law case
Divorce can be particularly difficult for children. In a family law case, the court will strive to make the transition as smooth as possible for both the child and the parents. Part of that is forging a viable parenting plan. From the start, the parents need to understand the need to protect their child and think about a positive way to create a parenting plan.