No individual who has ever gone through a divorce in California or who is presently in the process of doing so regards it as a casual endeavor.
The bottom line with marital dissolution is that it is customarily a big deal and even life-defining event. Divorce changes things, and in material ways. And it marks a sharp dividing line for legions of couples between a lapsed relationship and the opportunity to truly embark on a fresh start.
Securing a satisfactory divorce outcome is often an easier-said-than-done prospect, though. After all, fundamental and multiple challenges drive marital discord, and they are what must be centrally addressed and resolved before divorcing spouses can commence newly independent lives.
Every decoupling is unique. Family law comprises a legal realm that is arguably unrivaled for complexity and the sheer variety of issues that clients contend with in a given matter.
Although that is certainly true concerning divorce, splitting California couples often share some common concerns as they negotiate a marriage ending and new beginning. Many impending exes understandably focus on property division. Child support and spousal maintenance are often spotlighted issues.
And then there are often custody-linked matters where young children are involved, of course. That top-tier divorce concern is underscored in one California legal source posing this fundamental question: “Who will get custody?”
How child custody and visitation works in California
Here’s the key preliminary point to note regarding custody in California: Courts make the ultimate determination.
That doesn’t mean that parents lack a meaningful opportunity to weigh in, though. In fact, their input on a so-called “parenting plan” is what commonly drives the custody process. A parenting plan (sometimes termed a custody and visitation order) summarizes parents’ agreement reached on many important child-tied issues, including things like these:
- Time sharing and visitation
- Physical and legal custody
- Holiday/vacation schedules
- Health care
- Extracurricular activities
The link between parenting plans and divorce mediation
The above-cited legal source notes that custody mediation often takes center stage in a California divorce. In fact, mediation is required in many areas spanning the state, including Ventura County. The goal of mediation is for a divorcing couple to reach agreement on key child-linked points and ultimately have that agreement judicially endorsed.
The benefits of child custody mediation are often many and varied. Upsides can include these:
- enhanced autonomy over decision making and outcomes for participating couples
- time and cost savings relative to litigation
- sense of spousal empowerment
- atmosphere of civility, with dampened adversarialism
Mediation does not yield an optimal outcome in every instance. Candidly, though, it often does promote best results for both parents and children, and has lasting positive effects.
A family law legal team with extensive mediation experience can provide further information.