A California court can establish child custody and parenting time on a schedule that the parents have been following for a significant period of time. A California court often will take this into consideration and approve the schedule currently being used as long there are no adverse effects on the children.
If you are the custodial parent who is facing a request to modify child custody, consider whether the current practice has been working for both you and the non-custodial parent and the issues you want to address to continue the current practice.
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Child Custody Current Practice
Child custody current practice is a term that refers to the actual time that you and the other parent is spending with your children. Child custody current practice can be important when either parent seeks a court order for parenting time. The court will look at the child custody current practice to determine how to fashion the court order for each parent’s parenting time. The time you spend with your children is the most significant factor a court considers when fashioning parenting plans.
Noncustodial Parent’s Time
If you are the noncustodial parent, you should be prepared to explain to the court why the child custody current practice you are using is not feasible or is not within the best interests of the child. Remember, even though you may be the non-custodial parent, your parenting time should not be affected by any temporary absence or break in visitation. You should make time to see your children as much as possible. The eventual parenting plan will be a factor used when calculating child support.
Moving Out of the Family Home
Reasonable efforts to maintain parenting time with a child is critical for a parent that moves out of the family home. Child custody laws in California do not permit a California family law judge to consider one parent’s absence or relocation from the family residence so long as:
- The absence or relocation was of a short duration;
- The parent who was absent demonstrated an interest in maintaining custody or visitation;
- The parent maintained or made reasonable efforts to maintain contact with the child; and,
- That parent’s does not demonstrate behavior consistent with the intent to abandon the child.
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