The best interests of the child – that is where everything begins and ends when it comes to child custody and visitation. In California, joint legal and physical custody is generally preferred by the courts. Custody means more than just which parent the child will spend most of their time with (physical custody); it means how parenting responsibilities will be shared and how decisions regarding your child’s well-being will be made (legal custody).
In the best of all worlds, you and your spouse are able to come to terms regarding what is best for your children and create a parenting plan, also called a custody and visitation order. If you and your spouse can come to an agreement, it can help save time, money, and emotional distress for all involved, especially your children.
Here are some things to keep mind as you enter into child custody and visitation negotiations:
Leave your issues with your spouse at the door: Remember that no matter how angry, hurt or frustrated you may be, your spouse is also your child’s other parent. You are being judged on how you deal with your soon-to-be-ex. Why? Open hostility towards your spouse will be viewed negatively. Set the vitriol aside and be courteous.
Parenting styles are not an issue in the eyes of the court: The fact that your spouse lets your children eat pepperoni pizza when you are a vegan, or that you think it’s okay to let your children play outside in a light rain and your co-parent is scared that they will catch a cold if they do: none of that is going to make a difference. Parenting styles are not going to influence how a judge will view custody and visitation. An assurance that you will provide a safe, stable, respectful and loving environment will.
Make sure that you can and will follow through on your commitments to your children: Whether you have joint physical custody or not, you need to be there for your children. As often as not, that will mean having to help when it comes to doctor’s appointments, pick-up and drop-off at school, teacher conferences and unexpected changes in plans. It’s less important that it’s not your “turn”: what matters is that it is in your child’s best interest for you to be there, and for them to know they can count on you.
Get Additional Information on How to Prepare for California Child Custody Negotiations
A child custody and visitation plan affects your child’s well-being. If you have questions about California parenting plans in Hollister, Monterey, or Gilroy areas, please contact Giuliano Law online or call us at (831) 372-4003 to speak with a Monterey child custody attorney.