CHILD CUSTODY & VISITATION
Providing compassionate matrimonial law representation
Child custody and visitation are among the most strongly contested and emotionally challenging issues in a divorce proceeding. While the divorce is about the spouses ending their marriage, it does not have to be the complete demise of the family. Children benefit from a bond with both parents. Working out mutually agreeable custody and visitation agreements that are in the best interest of the child can foster these relationships and help your child flourish.
At the Law Office of Steven M. Bishop, you benefit from working with a certified family law specialist with over 35 years of experience and a full-service family law practice dedicated to guiding and supporting you through the divorce process with compassion.
Child custody and visitation in California
In California, public policy is to ensure that children get the benefit of frequent and continuing contact with both parents who have gone their separate ways, whether they are divorced or were never married.
Ideally, both parents work together to develop a parenting plan, a document that details the custody and visitation schedule. A parenting plan is comprehensive and addresses issues such as:
Where the child attends school
How the child spends vacations and school holidays
The religion the child observes
Primary medical and dental care providers
How communication with one parent is handled when the child is with the other
Once the parents work out the details of the parenting plan and the court reviews it, the terms become an enforceable court order.
Legal custody versus physical custody
In a child custody matter, the terms “custody” and “visitation” have legal definitions specific to California that might be different from what people commonly assume them to mean.
Legal custody: Legal custody determines who makes decisions for the children regarding their health, safety, welfare and education. The courts favor awarding joint legal custody in a divorce, allowing each parent to share in the decision-making for the children.
Physical custody: Physical custody determines the parent with whom the child lives. In the case of joint physical custody, the child lives with both parents, alternating weeks or weekends with each.
Visitation: A visitation schedule is an integral part of the parenting plan. It includes the specific days the child is with each parent, pick-up and drop-off times, and a schedule for holidays and vacations.
The courts are trending toward disregarding the gender of parents when making family law decisions, and fathers should have an equal chance of getting custody of their children in a divorce. At the Law Office of Steven M. Bishop, a father's rights attorney can help you understand and assert your rights.
After the divorce is final, either parent can request a modification of the divorce order if financial or medical circumstances change, the child’s educational needs change or one parent wants to move to another state. The parent requesting the modification must complete and submit a request order to the court. The clerk sets an appointment for a meeting with a mediator who helps the parents come to an agreement on the modification. The judge then reviews the new agreement and makes a ruling on whether the modification is to be granted.
Contact a Certified Family Law Specialist who understands your needs and protects your interests
If you are considering getting a divorce in San Diego County, the Law Office of Steven M. Bishop has the experience to seek the results you need. Call us at 619-299-9780 or contact us online to schedule a no-obligation consultation today