Just because a California family court judge rules that its best for a particular child or children to live full time with only one parent after divorce, it does not necessarily mean the court believes the other parent is unfit. In many cases, the reasons prompting such a decision might have more to do with children’s ability to handle stress. If the court thinks traveling back and forth between households on a regular basis would cause too much stress for the children involved, then it might see fit to deny one parent child custody in favor of the other.
As long as the non-custodial parent in no way poses a detriment to his or her children, the court will typically grant visitation rights when custody has been denied. Some parents visit their children every weekend, while others see their children every other week. There are no specific rules about visits, but the court sometimes does place restrictions on a parent’s visitation plan if it has a legitimate reason to do so.
Most children fare best in divorce if they maintain active, healthy relationships with both parents. This is why the terms of the agreement should focus on what is best for the children involved, whether custody is shared or granted only to one parent with visitation rights to the other. What works for one family might be a very bad idea for another.
If a child custody or visitation problem arises, a concerned California parent can turn to an experienced family law attorney for support. Every state has its own guidelines, and an attorney can provide recommendations and guidance as to how to work within this state’s laws to develop or legally enforce a custody or visitation agreement. Especially if the issues at hand are particularly complex or the relationship between co-parents is combative, it is helpful to request legal representation rather than try to go it alone in court.