California family law courts take it as their priority in a divorce to ensure your child’s best interests are looked out for. A parent’s responsibility for a child is a legal obligation they have until that child turns 18, regardless of whether or not they live with that parent all of the time.
For this reason, child support is ordered and a parenting plan must be entered in every case where minor children are involved. The time-sharing schedule, also called residential or visitation schedule, will outline the schedule of where your child will spend their time. This is one part of the parenting plan, which will provide guidelines on many elements of co-parenting after a divorce.
Understandably, your child may have some opinions about who they want to spend their time with. It is important to have open and honest communication about the divorce with your child so let them voice that opinion and let them know that you respect their feelings.
Keep their opinions in mind when drafting the timesharing schedule with the other parent but remember that what they want may not be in their best interest and the courts require you to enter your own parenting plan agreement with the other parent, not necessarily with the family as a whole.
The courts want to make sure a parenting plan is sustainable and will be feasible for both parents and that it will, ultimately, be what is best for the child. Ideally, they will spend an equal amount of time with each parent. In the eyes of California family law, this is the best post-divorce arrangement for a child.
Help them better understand what they want by providing them with resources that can explain divorce to them in a way that is geared for kids. In general, your child will not have a large say in the timesharing schedule. However, there is an important exception where your child’s opinion should take priority. If your child is expressing worry or anxiety over spending time with the other parent alone, you may want to have them speak to a child psychologist or request a parenting evaluator be appointed for your case. Your child’s safety is what is most important
If your child is expressing worry or anxiety over spending time with the other parent alone, you may want to have them speak to a child psychologist or request a parenting evaluator be appointed for your case. Your child’s safety is what is most important so make sure they will be safe before you agree to any timesharing schedule.
Also, in the case that your child is older and may drive or otherwise be able to transfer themselves between houses, they may have a say in where they live and when they live there. For example, if your child plays high school sports and gets home late from practice every night, they might not have the time during the week for any residential time changes between parents.
Similarly, if your child has weekend activities such as lessons, practices or groups, and the other parent does not live in a location convenient to these, you may want to accommodate their activities in the timesharing schedule. When listening to their say about the timesharing schedule, keep in mind that in most cases, you or your spouse will have to provide the transportation of the child and this can cut into quality time, dependent on how far away the other parent lives.
Are you in the Los Angeles area and have questions about how to schedule your child’s residential time? Certified Family Law Specialist Mark H. Karney has expertise in parenting plan and residential time matters and can ensure your child’s best interests are well looked after throughout the entire divorce process. Call Fernandez & Karney at 310-622-9434; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us through our online form today to schedule a free consultation.