During the immediate aftermath of a marital separation, some California parents may encounter problems regarding child custody and visitation. This period often represents a gap where no rules have been yet established. Without a court order on child custody and visitation, actions by a parent cannot be effectively curtailed or stopped. Trying to erase and reverse rash actions by one parent regarding custody or visitation issues can be nearly impossible in that early period.
That is one reason why consulting with one's family law attorney prior to the separation can be a substantial benefit to the perspicacious parent who thinks to do it. It is often possible to head off various types of crises by filing custody and visitation papers that are timed at or about the time of the intended separation. A court order setting a date for a hearing pretty much protects both parents from rash behavior by either one.
Where that much preplanning has not been done, however, there are some general points for a parent to consider for the immediate period after the separation. One of those is to negotiate at least a temporary working arrangement with the other parent. Both parents should understand and agree to the value of liberal visitation. Assuring access by both parents is the prescription for the children's future emotional health and secure upbringing.
The only exception is those few cases where abuse may be a factor, and it is best to tread slowly prior to sharing visitation privileges. However, in those situations getting into court quickly is highly recommended to cut off any early vindictive actions. Additionally, the early gap period is a time for both parents to exercise discretion, think before acting, be flexible and to communicate with the other party as much as feasible under the circumstances. Experienced California child custody attorneys are well-equipped to guide the parent through this difficult process with all of the client's rights remaining protected and intact.
Source: hawaiiarmyweekly.com, "Child custody is often no man's land: Hawaii Army Weekly", Andrew J. Harman, Nov. 20, 2017