Child custody is not what it used to be in California. Once courts decreed cookie-cutter custody and visitation plans in every case. Mothers got custody, fathers got visitation, and anyone who failed to fit that mold got left out. Today, courts and attorneys are much more flexible, and they look at what the children need. They are willing to craft individual plans that work for the different types of families of today.
Focus is on what is best for the child(ren)
Deciding custody used to be a traumatic event for the children involved. It resulted in them being shuttled around between adults, regardless of their needs. Families wanted to avoid as much trauma as possible and make custody arrangements centrally focusing on the child. Ideally, the parents (or the family) can sit down together and work out an agreement that keeps the kids knowing they are cherished and protected.
Examples of creative custody agreements
See how some parents have crafted individual custody plans:
- Parents of young children (and a peaceful relationship) may stay in the same home, using different bedrooms, until the child is older.
- Some families buy a family house for the children to stay in, having the parents cycle in and out on a schedule. That way the child is least disrupted by adult problems.
- Joint custody is a preferred result. Time can be split week by week, on a Sunday to Sunday system.
- Contracts can address details of known problems (like who takes the child to out-of-town soccer matches, or how a religious upbringing will be handled) in advance and clearly rather than as a reaction to events on the ground.
An attorney may help you plan for child custody in creative ways. In a situation where everyone wants what is best for the children, an attorney can help you do your best for the child.