Parenting Time and Visitation Lawyer Serving Contra Costa County
A sensitive and complex issue embedded within the broader topic of child custody is parenting time, which basically means your legal right to visit and be around your children. Regardless of whether you receive sole custody or joint custody, California law acknowledges that a continuing relationship with both parents is in a child's best interests. As a result, most courts, including courts with jurisdiction over Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, and Contra Costa County, encourage parents to work together to find a way to meet their child's needs, even after getting divorced.
In most instances, divorcing spouses who have a child, or children, are provided with the opportunity to negotiate an agreement between each other that sets forth a co-parenting arrangement.
However, if parents are unable to reach an agreement and simply cannot cooperate with each other, the Court will step in and make custody and visitation decisions. Once those decisions are rendered, changes can be difficult to achieve without getting both parents on board.
Parallel Parenting Agreements
If you are having difficulty negotiating a co-parenting agreement with your spouse, you may want to consider a “parallel parenting” agreement. Basically, this is an agreement stipulating that each parent has clearly defined rights and responsibilities, and each parent will handle those responsibilities with minimal contact or engagement with the other parent.
Preference of the Child
In recent years, the preference of a child has become a much more important factor in deciding child custody cases. In fact, California Family Code 3042 directs family courts to give weight to the stated preferences of the child and sets forth that children 14 years of age or older should be permitted to address the court about their preference, if they choose to do so. Children younger than the age of 14 are not prohibited from addressing the court to state their preference, but the Court has the discretionary authority to reach an alternative decision, if it is in the best interests to do so.
Even though California requires Courts to listen to the parenting preference of a child and give weight to that preference, the Court still has discretion over the ultimate decision. This means the Court does not necessarily have to follow the child's preferences or to follow them in exactly the way the child requests.
Have Questions about Parenting Time and Visitation Rights in Contra Costa County? Contact The Geller Firm Today
If you have questions related to the laws and guidelines governing parenting time and visitation rights in Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, or Contra Costa County, California, taking action by contacting The Geller Firm. Our team of experienced and respected Lafayette divorce attorneys are here to help. We are located in the San Francisco Bay Area and are proud to provide legal services in Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, and Contra Costa County, along with San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, and Pleasanton. Our legal team is available for virtual and in-person consultations. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.