Child custody and visitation are broad concepts that can cover many types of arrangements. According to the California Courts, there are two classifications of child custody and several types of visitation orders.
For parents who want to divorce, it is essential to have a general idea of what to expect. This is not an exhaustive guide, but the information below will provide a brief explanation of child custody in California.
Child custody can refer to both legal custody and physical custody. However, they do not have to be mutually exclusive. Legal custody confers the right to make decisions for the child. It is common for the parents to share legal custody.
Physical custody refers to the residence of the child. Parents might have joint physical custody, but it is more common for one parent to have primary physical custody. If one parent lacks physical custody, they must rely on their visitation plan to see the child.
A court-mandated visitation order can fall into one of four categories: scheduled, reasonable (unscheduled), supervised or no visitation. Scheduled visitation works best for parents who cannot agree between themselves. Supervised visitation is for parents who might endanger their children. Reasonable visitation lets the parents figure out parenting time on their own without much interference from the court. No visitation is for parents who cannot safely spend time with their children, even under supervision.
Everyone’s divorce is a little different. The common factor for divorcing parents is the well-being of their children. Courts will act in the child’s best interest, and parents must work together and show responsibility if they want a fair custody arrangement.