As a parent, one of your primary concerns during a divorce is ensuring that your children experience as little trauma and upheaval as possible. The end of your marriage in California will bring changes to the lives of every family member, and you want to take steps to preserve the emotional and mental health of your kids. One of the primary ways that you do this is by creating a practical and sustainable custody and visitation order.
Custody and visitation matters can be particularly difficult for fathers. In fact, as a dad, you may be unsure of what your parental rights may include and how to protect the interests of your kids. It will be useful to know your rights and to understand all the custody options that are available to you. The goal of any custody order is to protect the kids and their well-being above all else.
The ideal custody arrangement for your family
There is no single one-size-fits-all solution for child custody. You should tailor your custody and visitation order to the needs of your children and your unique family situation. As you consider your options, it may be helpful to understand the following terms, their differences and what they mean for you:
- Legal custody — Legal custody refers to the parent’s right to make important decisions on behalf of his or her child. This can be in decisions related to education, health care, religious upbringing and more.
- Physical custody — This refers to the actual time that a parent will have with his or her child, including weekend visitation, vacations, holidays and more.
Custody is a complex issue, and there are often difficult feelings involved in these matters. When considering your options, it is helpful to set aside your temporary feelings and focus on what will be best for your children long-term.
Custody choices and your family
It is helpful to have professional guidance as you navigate issues related to custody and visitation. This will allow you to have useful insight when making the decisions that will affect your family for years to come. If you are unsure of your custody rights as a father, you may benefit from seeking an assessment of your case.