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Types of child custody, visitation in California

For many people in California, the decision to have children together is a sign of the commitment to one another. However, as time passes, some parents may decide that they are no longer compatible and, in fact, that the strain on the relationship is detrimental to all involved. As such they may choose to end their romantic relationship. Once this decision is made, however, there are still many others that must follow. Especially important are decisions regarding child custody.

Custody can be awarded to either parent or to both parents. Though a parenting plan created by both parents still has to be approved by a judge, most judges will accept their agreement. If parents are not able to come to an agreement, a judge will, typically after the parents have met with a mediator.

There are two types of custody: legal and physical. Both types can be either joint or sole. If parents have joint physical custody, they both have the right to make certain decisions for their child, including those involving religion, education and medical, among others. For physical custody to be considered joint, parents must have equal time with the child, though because of the difficulty of ensuring that time is exactly split, one parent may ultimately have more time than the other.

The parent who has physical custody the majority of the time is considered the primary custodial parent, and the other parent has visitation. Parents can either have visitation according to a schedule or reasonable visitation. In the former option, a detailed visitation plan is created, dictating exactly when a child will be with which parent. The latter option is much more flexible and allows parents to create their own visitation schedule; this option typically works best for parents who communicate well with one another.

The process of creating a child custody and visitation plan can seem overwhelming for some parents in California. Even when both parents are willing to come together in the spirit of compromise, many still want an experienced professional on their side as they create such an agreement. Such a person can help them fully understand the implications of any agreement before signing them. Once an agreement is in place, in may be difficult to make changes.

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