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Parenting Time

The State of California determines both child custody and parenting time based on "the best interests of the child." In most cases, it is presumed to be in a child's best interests to have a strong relationship and regular contact with both parents. Establishing a visitation, or parenting time schedule supports the parent-child relationship when a child's parents no longer live together.

As with many aspects of a California divorce or separation, parents are free to arrive at a parenting schedule that meets their needs and those of their children on their own, without the need for a judge to decide the schedule. There are several reasons it's best for parents to establish their own schedule. They know, better than a judge can, their children's schedules and temperaments, as well as their own schedules. Parents typically also are more creative with the design of a parenting time schedule than our courts.  Also, when parents are able to agree on a parenting schedule, it's better for children than the hostility of a protracted court battle.

At Shaffer & Associates, our priority is what's best for our clients and their children. We are skilled negotiators and have successfully helped hundreds of clients arrive at a parenting time schedule that meets their family's needs. We also recognize that sometimes, an acceptable agreement simply can't be reached. In those cases, we advocate aggressively at trial for the parenting time schedule our clients need. 

Types of California Visitation Schedules

In California, parenting time is also referred to as "visitation" or "time-share." Depending on the needs and circumstances of the family in question, visitation may take a number of forms: 

  • Scheduled visitation: A schedule provides structure and predictability, and avoids confusion and conflict over who spends time with the children on any given day. Visitation schedules specify dates and times when the children will be with each parent, and typically include provisions for holidays, birthdays, and vacations.
  • Reasonable visitation: For some families, flexibility is more important than predictability. An order of reasonable parenting time may best meet those families' needs. Less detailed than scheduled visitation, an order for reasonable visitation tends to be more open-ended, allowing the parents to decide what visitation works for them and their children at any given time. This works well if the parents have a cordial relationship and communicate well; otherwise, there exists the risk of conflict and future litigation over parenting time.
  • Supervised visitation: In some cases, it is necessary to have a child's time with one parent supervised by a third-party, professional agency, or even the other parent. Supervised visitation is appropriate when it may not be safe for the parent to be alone with the child (such as when the parent has a history of substance abuse) or when the parent and child have not seen each other for a long time and need time to re-establish a relationship (such as when the parent has been incarcerated). Supervised visitation protects the safety of the child while allowing a relationship between the child and parent
  • No visitation: In rare cases, having any contact at all with one parent would be emotionally or physically harmful to a child, even with another adult supervising. In these circumstances, a court may order that the parent and child have no visitation.

At Shaffer & Associates, we listen to the facts of your case, your concerns for your children, and your goals for parenting time. We explore visitation options with you and make a plan, together, for achieving a parenting time arrangement that's best for you and your children.

Parenting Time Attorneys in San Diego and the Surrounding Communities

The San Diego attorneys of Shaffer & Associates represent clients in California parenting time cases in San Diego County and the surrounding communities, including Orange County, Riverside County and Los Angeles County. Contact Shaffer & Associates online or call (619) 595-3167 today to discuss how we can help your family.

San Diego Bar AssociationSection of Family LawCalifornia State Bar Family Law American Bar Association Avvo Clients' Choice 2014