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The Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan

We’ve been awarded joint custody. Now what?

You and your ex have been awarded joint custody. Your next step is to determine how your child will split her time between both households. This is known as a visitation schedule.

You and your ex can create the visitation schedule yourselves. As long as it is reasonable and fair, the court will approve it. This will allow you to create the plan that works best for your family.

If you cannot come to an agreement, the court may make decisions for both parents.

Some things you will need to consider are:

  • Where will the children go to school?
  • Do you need to make accommodations for your child’s extra-curricular activities?
  • Where will the children go during school vacations?
  • What happens when there is an unexpected day off from school?
  • Who will spend holidays with the children?
  • Will the arrangement need to change when the children get older?
  • Do the parents live near each other or far apart?

The distance between parent homes is a major factor when creating the schedule. Here is a sample California visitation schedule for parents who live near each other:

  • Child lives with Parent 1 during the school year.
  • Child stays with Parent 2 every other weekend, beginning on Fridays at 6 p.m. and ending on Sundays at 6 p.m.
  • Child stays with Parent 2 for at least 30 days of summer vacation.
  • Child celebrates odd-numbered birthdays with Parent 1 and even-numbered birthdays with Parent 2. The child is with the parent from 4 p.m. on the birthday till 9 a.m. the next day.
  • Child is with the father on Father’s Day and the mother on Mother’s Day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Child is with each parent on that parent’s birthday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Child will spend spring break with Parent 1 on even-numbered years and with Parent 2 on odd-numbered years.
  • Child will spend Thanksgiving break with Parent 1 on odd-numbered years and with Parent 2 on even-numbered years.
  • Child will spend a portion of New Year’s Day and Christmas Day with each parent.

Here is a sample schedule for parents who live far apart:

  • Child lives with Parent 1 during the school year.
  • Child spends six weeks throughout the summer with Parent 2. Dates must be selected in advance.  
  • Child will spend spring break with Parent 1 on even-numbered years and with Parent 2 on odd-numbered years.
  • Child will spend Thanksgiving break with Parent 1 on odd-numbered years and with Parent 2 on even-numbered years.
  • If the parent is in town, he or she may visit the child at any time, as long as there is two days' notice
  • The parent who spends less time with the child will make travel arrangements and pay travel costs.
  • Each parent will notify the other when the child arrives at the new destination.
  • Telephone visitation must occur for at least one hour, once a week. But, the child may call either parent at any time.

Your arrangement can be as unique as your family. However, it is always good to have your California child custody agreement and visitation schedule checked by a San Francisco child custody lawyer. To learn more, contact The Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan at 415-341-1144.