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California Child Visitation Guidelines

California Child Visitation Guidelines


A Short Introduction to California Child Visitation Guidelines


California child visitation guidelines cover every visitation order given out in the state of California. They are not strict; in fact, the California child visitation guidelines are just that, guidelines, that the court may choose to follow when crafting a visitation order. These orders have to be formulated directly to suit the needs of different families, and they shouldn’t be factory-formed to fit standard California child visitation guidelines. However, to understand better the decisions that go into your visitation order and to better anticipate what your order will be by comparing it to common ones, you should familiarize yourself with the California child visitation guidelines.


California Child Visitation Guidelines for the Visitation Order


A visitation order can reflect a number of diverse factors according to the California child visitation guidelines. The over-abiding principal is deciding what is in the child’s best interest, but that’s a vague enough consideration to warrant the evaluation of quite a few other elements. For example, these include:


• The child’s age

• The proximity of one parent to the child’s previous home

• The proximity of one parent to the other parent

• A parent’s work schedule

• The child’s school and activity schedule

• Ability of the parent (any physical disablements, etc.)

• Health concerns (does either parent smoke, etc.)

• The child’s stated preference


At the same time, California child visitation guidelines also mandate that several factors cannot be considered by the court in making visitation schedules. These include:


• Child support that is the court cannot revoke visitation rights because of non-payment of child support

• The parent’s lifestyle, sexual and religious identity

• The parent abandoning the home so long as an effort was made to keep in regular contact with the child


A Typical Schedule under California Child Visitation Guidelines


In general, the state as articulated in the California child visitation guidelines advises short and frequent contact with newborns and children under three. This usually means two or three hour visits three days a week. As the child grows older, the time spent with the child will increase per visit, but the consequence of the same is that the visits will gradually become less frequent. 


Eventually, all-day visits on the weekend will be advised, and then over-night trips will slowly be phased in. By the time the child enters school, a schedule will be settled on that will generally last through adolescence unless there is a change of situation. The most common timeshare arrangement according to California child visitation guidelines is alternating weekends with one weekday evening visit. The child stays with the custodial parent the majority of the time, and goes over to the non-custodian’s house every other weekend. The weekday evening visit will usually begin when the child finishes their school activities and include no later than an hour before their bedtime. Holidays are either split (in the case of Christmas) or alternated, so that one parent will get Memorial Day Weekend and another the Fourth of July Weekend, and so on.