If a parent in California is denied custody of his or her children, it is still possible for that parent to have visitation rights. Typically, a noncustodial parent is allowed to see a child on weekends or holidays. However, a visitation plan can be customized to meet a parent's needs and to ensure the best interests of the child are being met. A judge will likely prefer that parents come up with their own plan whenever possible.
For parents in California and throughout the country, child custody arrangements are changing from the traditional model in which the mother usually got custody of the child and the father got limited visitation time, often a few hours with the child on a weeknight and alternate weekends. The model is shifting toward one that focuses on the child, and what many people believe is better for the child is spending significant time with each parent.
California parents who are getting a divorce will need to agree on a child custody and visitation arrangement. Otherwise, a judge will create one in the child's best interests. When making a decision, both physical and legal custody will need to be taken into account. While physical custody refers to where the children live, legal custody has to do with making choices about a child's education and general welfare.