Child Visitation

January 31, 2024 | By Doppelt and Forney
Child Visitation

When parents no longer wish to live together, they must confront the issue of how, where, and when they will be able to spend time with their child. Unfortunately, when it comes to child visitation, neither parent is likely to end up with an arrangement that fully satisfies them.

Nonetheless, a plan must be established that will meet not only the needs of the child but also, to the extent possible, the desires of the parents.

If you need legal advice or representation regarding this type of issue, the San Diego child visitation lawyers at Doppelt and Forney, APLC can assist you. We have helped numerous clients successfully negotiate and establish visitation plans, and our child custody attorneys can put our experience and knowledge to work for you.

Determining Child Visitation for Parents in California

Although California favors joint physical and legal custody, when you live separately, “joint” custody merely refers to the legal rights of the parents. The practical reality is, whether the arrangement is called joint custody or sole custody with the right of visitation, the child will be transferred back and forth between the parents. There are two types of custody. “Physical custody” is the right of either parent to physically have the child in their custody. “Legal custody” refers to the right to make fundamental decisions on behalf of the child. It is possible for the parents to share both types of custody or for only one parent to retain either right.

Visitation, however, relates solely to the physical aspect of custody. When one parent spends more than half of the time with the child, visitation refers to the non-custodial parent’s right to spend time with the child. However, the term “visitation” is frequently used simply to refer to the allocation of time spent by the child with each parent, even when the parents share custody.

When the parents have an amicable relationship, visitation schedules do not need to be strictly formal. As long as the parents are able to work together, they may agree to a relatively flexible visitation arrangement. However, too much “looseness” may lead to misunderstandings or disagreements, so even flexible visitation plans should establish a basic visitation framework, while allowing both parties leeway to depart from these norms by mutual agreement.

In most cases, however, parents and children will benefit from a more formal visitation schedule. Our child visitation attorneys can help San Diego residents work through the issues involved. Typically, a visitation plan is highly detailed, spelling out exactly when the children will spend time with each parent over the course of the year, including holidays, birthdays, the school year, weekends, and vacation time. In addition, it will address how special situations will be handled, such as when the child is sick, when a parent has a business trip, when there are unscheduled events, and when there are unanticipated conflicts.

It will address when, where, and how transfers will be made, as well as who bears the responsibility for transportation and transportation costs. While such detailed plans may seem unnecessarily regimented, by spelling out every detail, problems that may arise from miscommunication or animosity between the parents may be avoided.

There are also situations, unfortunately, in which visitation may be limited or denied. This may be due to a parent’s history of physical abuse or violence, substance abuse, or mental health issues.

In these cases, the parent may still have a visitation right, but only when chaperoned and supervised by a third party. In still others, a parent may be denied all visitation rights if the court concludes that any contact between the parent and the child would be harmful to the emotional well-being of the child.

Finally, other parties may seek and obtain visitation rights, such as grandparents, step-parents, or other relatives.

Contact a Child Visitation Lawyer in the San Diego Area

If you have questions or are dealing with a problem regarding child visitation rights in California, contact an experienced San Diego child visitation attorney at Doppelt and Forney, APLC for a free in-person or virtual consultation today. We can be reached toll-free at 800.769.4748 or online to set up an appointment.

We also serve people who need a divorce lawyer in the surrounding communities, such as Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista.