Custody and Parenting Time in a Carlsbad Divorce

Pierre Domercq Child Custody and Visitation

What is the difference between “child custody” and “parenting time” also known as “visitation” and how are these established in a North County or Carlsbad divorce?
Child custody refers to the party with the legal right to make decisions regarding where a child lives, as well as important decisions regarding healthcare, religion, education, extra-curricular activities and all aspects of a child’s life.
There are two types of custody: Physical and Legal. “Physical custody” generally refers to where a child will live after a divorce or separation. “Legal custody” generally refers to the right to make major decisions about a child’s welfare, health, and education.
Custody in California divorce cases is usually classified as “Joint” or “Sole” custody. Joint custody means both parents will share these responsibilities and sole custody means one of the parents will be given the sole responsibility for physical or legal custody decisions or both.
What is Parenting Time?
Parenting time is totally different from “custody.” Parenting time literally refers to the amount of quality time each child will spend with each parent after a separation or divorce. Parenting time is often called “visitation” and the “Parenting Plan” (also known as a “custody and visitation agreement”) describes how the child’s time will be divided between the two separate households of the parents after orders are issued.
California law and our North County Courts believe it is in the best interests of the child to spend an “equal amount of quality time” with each parent, even if this doesn’t necessarily mean a 50/50 split between the parties. Our local Courts have developed the “Developing a Child Custody Parenting Plan” handbook for parents.
In this document two important guidelines should be noted:
“Providing a consistent, simple, and predictable schedule with smooth transitions between the parents’ homes,” and “ensuring the child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents, when safe to do so.”
Parenting time is the visitation schedule or the time you will spend with your child(ren) after your separation or divorce. The “Parenting Plan” or “Child Custody and Visitation Agreement” will determine the nature of custody (joint/sole as well as physical and legal).
These issues can be quite complex, and there is conceivably no more difficult issue for most divorcing couples than resolving differences regarding parenting time, parenting plans, custody and visitation.
The experienced family law attorneys at Burke & Domercq have decades of expertise in child custody and visitation issues. We invite you to contact us or call 760-712-3741 to schedule time with one of our attorneys.