"Breaking up is hard to do," the saying goes. And no one knows that more than couples with children. The most difficult part of many divorces in California is determining which parent should have primary physical custody and how visitation should work. Many parents want to be just as involved in their child's life as they were before the separation.
As you go through the divorce process, you may want to do whatever you can to spend as much time with your kids as possible post-divorce. To encourage this, you need to figure out what you want in terms of child custody and support, as well as visitation.
In terms of custody, joint, shared and sole custody are all possible options, each with its own pros and cons. For example, joint custody allows both parents to stay equally involved in decision making and everyday activities, but may be inconvenient for parents who live in two different states. Ideally, you will consider the needs of your child, as well as what will work for both you and your ex-spouse's employment schedules.
Once you know what you are looking for in terms of custody, you and your ex-spouse will need to come up with a parenting plan detailing all things relating to your child's care. The plan will cover everything including holiday time, communication between you and your ex-spouse as it relates to your child and details on the involvement of each parent in the child's life post-divorce. As always, the parenting plan should be focused on making sure your child gets what they need, even if their parents are no longer together. By having a plan in place, you and your ex-spouse can spend more time raising your children and less time arguing.
Source: The Good Men Project, "You're Divorcing Your Wife, Not Your Kids: Tips for Child Custody, Visitation and Co-Parenting," Audrey Silcox, Oct. 29, 2017