Protecting Your Rights To Parenting Time
When a legal issue involves a child, it is absolutely essential that the best interests of the child be kept at the forefront of the case. In parenting time cases where divorcing parents or unmarried parents are at odds over where the child will reside and who has custody, this is especially important. Children are impacted by their parents and need to know that, regardless of what happens, they are safe and loved.
At Klausner | Johnson LLP, our lawyers and staff are committed to helping our Orange County clients understand their rights in parenting time matters. Whether parents are going through a divorce or they are unmarried parents of a child together, we use our extensive understanding of the California child custody laws to ensure that you have the access to your child to which you are entitled.
Types Of Parenting Time Arrangements
There are many different ways in which parenting time can be handled, but there are two main types of parenting time arrangements that are to be considered:
- Legal custody: When a parent has or shares legal custody, it means that they have decision-making capabilities for the child. Decisions can be made regarding health care, schooling, child care, travel, extracurricular activities and where the child will live. Parents can share legal custody and work together to make these decisions (joint legal custody), or one can have the power to make decisions on their own (sole legal custody).
- Physical custody: Physical custody pertains specifically to where the child lives. Sole physical custody means that the child lives with one parent and may have visitation time with the other parent. Joint physical custody means that the children reside with both parents in time that is divided between the two homes.
Factors The Courts Consider When Determining Parenting Time
Much like with spousal support, there are a number of different factors the courts consider when they are making a determination regarding parenting time. These factors include:
- The child’s age and health
- Any emotional bonds between the child and either parent
- The ability of either parent to fully care for the child mentally, emotionally, physically and financially
- Either parent’s history of drug and/or alcohol abuse
- Any history of domestic violence for either parent
- The child’s connection to the home and area, school, community and more
In addition to these factors, courts also look at each parent’s ability to parent as a whole. Whether the parent is the father or mother is not considered. While there was a previous trend with mothers often getting parenting time and child custody as a default, this is no longer the case. Courts recognize how important it is for a child to have both parents in their life and will grant parenting time to both parents as they see fit.
In some circumstances, the agreement you have in place may need to be revisited. Our lawyers will work with you to determine if making changes to the parenting time order is possible, and develop a comprehensive strategy to show the court why your requests should be granted.