When parents in California go through a divorce, they or the court may create a child visitation schedule. This legally binding schedule details the time the noncustodial parent will spend with the child.

Courts operate on the assumption that it is in the best interests of the child to spend time with both parents as long as there are no issues that endanger the child’s well-being. Parents who share physical custody will have a custody schedule. Both custody and visitation schedules may also address holidays and vacations since this is often a point of contention. Making a holiday schedule may also keep children from being caught in the middle and feeling as though they must choose between parents.

There are several reasons why parents may not be able to reach an agreement and must turn to a court to create a schedule. During the upheaval of divorce, it can be difficult for exes to cooperate. If the parents live some distance apart and visitation involves one of them having to travel, this could also lead to conflict. Over time, visitation details might be changed if a child gets older and expresses a preference about the schedule.

One advantage of having custody and visitation orders that are legally binding is that the court can help with enforcement issues if necessary. Parents who have concerns about serious threats such as international child abduction might want to inform an attorney. There are a number of legal steps that can be taken to help ensure that a child is not taken from the country without the knowledge and permission of both parents.