Family Law Blog

How is Visitation Decided in California?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

When a couple gets divorced, the court will identify one person as the physical custodian of the child, which means that he or she will have primary physical custody of the child. At the same time, the court will also sign off on a visitation schedule which allows the noncustodial parent visiting hours with the child.

The visitation schedule must be specific, and must include details like the number of hours the child will spend with the noncustodial parent, vacation breaks and so on. The visitation schedule is typically decided on by the parents. In fact, Los Angeles divorce lawyers recommend that you work together with the other parent to decide on a schedule. Even after a couple has agreed on a visitation schedule, it must be submitted to a court for approval. Your visitation schedule is not valid until the judge signs off on it.

However, if the parents can't come to an agreement, the court will intervene, and will issue a child custody order. This child custody order will also include a visitation schedule for the noncustodial parent.

Apart from the times of the week, vacation breaks and other details about the amount of time the child will spend with the noncustodial parent, your visitation schedule must also include other details, including pickup and drop-off times, who is responsible for making the pickups and drop-offs, and other details. It is important to have all of these details in order to avoid legal wrangling later.

The visitation schedule must also identify how the custody will be shared during special times like birthdays and holidays. The summer break must also be divided with the noncustodial parent getting a fixed number of days over the summer.