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Divorce Papers In California: Child Custody and Visitation


Although divorce obviously affects the spouses involved, divorce also touches family members, including children. How divorcing couples handle child custody and visitation can have lasting impressions on their children. With cooperation and patience, parents can create a sensible custody and plan for parenting time (visitation) that works for the whole family.

Two Types of Child Custody: Legal vs Physical

There are two kinds of child custody: (1) legal custody, meaning who makes important decisions for your children, and (2) physical custody, which means who your children live with. There is joint legal custody, where both parents share the right and responsibility to make the important decisions for the welfare of the children, or sole legal custody, where only one parent has the right and responsibility to make the important decisions.

1) Legal Custody

Parents with legal custody make decisions or choices about their children’s:

  • school or child care;
  • religious activities or institutions;
  • psychiatric, psychological, or other mental health counseling or therapy needs;
  • choosing a doctor, dentist, orthodontist, or other health professional (except in emergency situations);
  • sports, summer camp, vacation, or extracurricular activities; travel;
  • and residence (where the children will live).

2) Physical Custody

Physical custody can also be joint or sole. Joint physical custody does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. . Typically children may spend a little more time with one parent or the other due to normal life scheduling and the fact that time cannot be split perfectly. When one parent has the children more than half of the time, then that parent is sometimes called the primary custodial parent. Physical custody plans (also called Parenting Plans) often evolve as younger children grow up to match their age-specific needs and activities.

Understanding the Different Types of Visitation

Visitation, also called “time-share” or “parenting time,” is the agreed upon or judge ordered plan for how the parents will share time with the children.  Generally, a parent who has the children less than half of the time has visitation or parenting time with the children. Visitation Orders are varied, depending on the best interests of the children, the situation of the parents, and other factors. In general, visitation can be:

  1. Visitation according to a schedule: a schedule detailing the dates and times that the children will be with each parent.
  2. Reasonable visitation: usually, these orders are open-ended and allow the parents to work it out between them. This type of visitation plan can work if parents get along very well and can be flexible and communicate well with one another.
  3. Supervised visitation: This is used when the children’s safety and well-being require that visits with the other parent be supervised by you, another adult, or a professional agency.
  4. No visitation: This option is used when visiting with the parent, even with supervision, would be physically or emotionally harmful to the children. In these cases, it is not in the best interest of the children for the parent to have any contact with the children.

How to Develop a Parenting Plan:

In order to create a thoughtful and carefully planned parenting plan, spouses should think about activities, overnights, and day-to-day care, and be clear and specific about which decisions each parent can make on his or her own and which decisions you will make together.

It is also a good idea to  consider your children’s ages, personalities, experiences, and abilities. Every child is different. Many specialists recommend that parents adjust their plans to their children, and not the other way around. 



it’s over easy strives to make the uncontested divorce process as as simple and stress-free as possible. It’s over easy has online templates and other tools available to help you break down your children’s schedules into days spent with you and your spouse. There is also an interactive co-parenting calendar that connects to your Google Calendar so it’s easy to share with your spouse and to maintain. Our platform also puts users in touch with custody specialists and family law experts if you need extra help figuring out custody and child support. With these tools, you and your spouse will be able to create a custom plan that is easy to follow for your whole family.

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Go to this page about online divorce to learn more.