Child Visitation Schedules in California
Child Visitation Schedules in Orange County, California: We discussed the basics of what visitation is, why visitation is necessary, the types of visitation orders that can be issued in California, who can have visitation rights with a child, and how visitation custody is determined, in a previous blog post that you can read here. This time around, we will get a little deeper into California visitation schedules.
When you request a custody agreement, either you and your child’s other parent can create a parenting plan together. If you and your child’s other parent cannot agree on a parenting plan, a judge will create one for you.
If it has been determined that one parent should have sole physical custody of your child, it is likely that the noncustodial parent will have visitation rights.
Both parents are more likely to follow a visitation agreement that they created together than a visitation agreement that was determined by a judge. If possible, consider the following when creating a visitation agreement for your child.
How Can I Create a Visitation Agreement in California that is Easy to Enforce?
The most easily enforceable visitation agreements are the most detailed visitation agreements. Especially if you are worried that your spouse may not follow the terms of the visitation order, it’s is probably a good idea to have a scheduled visitation order.
As children age, it is important to consider what they might need at each age. Visitation schedules, like custody orders, will likely need to be revised at least every two to three years. The new order will need to be made in the best interest of the child.
How Can I Create a Visitation Agreement for a Child From Birth to Three Years?
Infants and toddlers have unique needs when it comes to spending time with their parents. It is important that they spend a lot of time with both parents in order to develop secure attachments, keep anxiety to a minimum, and make sure that the child is comfortable with both parents.
Memories made at this age will not last throughout the child’s life, and in order to remember the parents, the child needs to spend time with them often. When a child spends time with parents at this age, they also learn to develop separation anxiety. Depending on the degree of attachment to the noncustodial parent, the visitation schedule can allow the child to spend more or less time with that parent.
If an infant or toddler has had no contact or is not very comfortable with the noncustodial parent, he or she should be gradually introduced into the child’s life. Visitation should increase weekly, from one to two hours a few times per week to up to six or seven hours per visit several times per week. Consider the child’s comfort level throughout the visitation.
To increase the child’s trust and feeling of security, it is important that the custodial parent is confident in the noncustodial parent and that the noncustodial parent spends time alone with the child. However, the custodial parent should make sure to provide supplies and information so that the child’s daily routine, food, medications, etc. can remain similar at both homes. The custodial parent can also communicate his or her trust and feeling of security to the child by providing transportation to and from the visitations.
Consistency, schedules, and security are the most important factors at this age.
How Can I Create a Visitation Agreement for a Child From Three to Five Years?
Between three and five years old, the child is capable of forming strong attachments with both parents, as well as other caregivers like babysitters or other family members. This also means that the child can tolerate longer periods of time away from the parents than a child who is under three years old.
As the child enters preschool, it is still important to provide consistency, structure, and predictability. Consider schedules that allow visitation every other weekend and one to two nights per week, possibly including overnight stays with the noncustodial parent.
The child will be able to follow schedules at this age, especially if the parents use a color coded calendar. Keeping a consistent schedule allows the child to feel safe and secure and enables the child to predict when he or she will spend time with each parent.
It is still important for the parents to show trust and security in one another in front of the child at this point to continue building their trust in both parents. Anxiety at this age can be expressed through nightmares or by regressing to younger behaviors, and fighting parents can exacerbate anxiety.
How Can I Create a Visitation Agreement for a Child From Six to Eleven Years?
Elementary school aged children are usually comfortable moving back and forth from one parent’s home to another. Consider the child’s after school activities as he or she gets older and requires less time spent with each parent. It is important to help the child prepare for school and other activities, and to keep conflicts between the parents to a minimum.
Consistency and cooperation between the parents is critical at this age, as the child may learn to manipulate either parent. Parents need to communicate about consistency when it comes to rules, discipline, structure, and schedules.
The child’s activities should not interfere with visitation, and changes in scheduling need to be discussed.
How Can I Create a Visitation Agreement for a Child From Twelve to Eighteen Years?
During adolescence, the children are likely to be more focused on activities outside of the home, but they still require structured time with both parents. Parents need to provide guidance, consistent rules and discipline and standards for the child.
In California, children who are 14 and older may be allowed to have a say in their custody or visitation agreement. If you have an adolescent child, it may be a good idea to ask if they have any requests when it comes to custody and visitation. However, the decision should not be left completely in the child’s hands.
Maintain open lines of communication with your adolescent child, but make sure not to treat your child as a friend, or to rely on your child emotionally. Communicate with the other parent.
Contact an attorney to learn about Child Visitation Schedules in Orange County
If you have any questions about creating a child visitation schedule, contact an Orange County family lawyer for assistance. Family lawyers and custody mediators can help you and your child’s other parent work together create a custody and visitation schedule that is in the best interest of the child, or to get through the court process. Contact Yanez & Associates today to schedule your free initial consultation.