July 15, 2023, In Family Law
At WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC Los Angeles family law attorney knows that there are a lot of question marks and fear of the unknown when spouses decide to get divorced in California. When these couples share children, child custody typically takes center stage — first by determining which parent the children will live with going forward.
Child custody decisions can be made between the parents in private, during mediation sessions, or — when the parents cannot negotiate a solution — by a judge during litigation.
Unless there are extenuating circumstances that will impact one parent’s ability to share custody with the other — like drug or alcohol abuse, a history of domestic violence, or mental health conditions — the presumption in California is that parents share joint physical custody.
This means the children will split their time fairly between both parents’ homes. However, fairly does not necessarily mean equal time in each place. This typically requires one parent, who is called the “custodial parent,” to have primary physical custody, leaving the other parent who spends less than half the time with the kids to be legally referred to as the “non-custodial parent.”
Non-Custodial Parents Have the Right to Help Make Decisions About Their Children’s Upbringing
Being a non-custodial parent rarely impacts the legal custody of the children — just their physical custody.
Shared legal custody allows both parents to share decision-making responsibilities concerning the children’s care and upbringing. This may include shared decisions about their health, well-being, education, and religion, to name a few important topics.
Non-Custodial Parents Have the Right to Visitation Time with Their Children
In California, child custody decisions are made with the kids’ best interests in mind. This includes both parents being involved in their day-to-day lives unless, as mentioned, there are compelling reasons to prevent one parent from seeing the children regularly.
When sole custody is awarded to one parent, the non-custodial parent has visitation rights, which determine how and when he or she will spend time with the kids.
Visitation agreements may cover:
- Scheduled Visitation
The non-custodial parent has the children on specific dates and times.
- Reasonable Visitation
A non-specific, flexible schedule both parents agree on that can change as they see fit, so it works for everyone.
- Supervised Visitation
A third party is present during the children’s visits with the non-custodial parent.
Non-Custodial Parents Have the Right to Contest Your Ex-Spouse Relocating with the Kids
In California, there is no set distance standard where the custodial parent must get permission from the co-parent to move away with the children, unless the non-custodial parent can show that the move would harm the children.
If you are the non-custodial parent, and your ex-spouse is planning a move out of state or, since California is such a large state, a considerable distance away, you have the right to contest the move. You should speak with our experienced child custody attorney as soon as possible to learn more about your legal rights and options to oppose the move.
Non-Custodial Parents Have the Right to Request Child Custody Modifications
Child custody decisions do not necessarily end with the initial custody agreement or court order. Significant changes in circumstances, including one parent’s physical, emotional, or financial wellness, where the kids go to school, how much time they are spending at each home, and how much the parents work or are away on business, can require that the court revisit the case and potentially issue a modification. We can help.
Contact Our Child Custody Attorneys in Los Angeles, California Today
If you have questions about your rights as a non-custodial parent in California, contact our skilled family law attorneys in Los Angeles County at WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC by calling (310) 552-3505 to schedule a free consultation today. We can help provide solutions that produce results.