What is Parenting Time and Why is it Important?

It is doubtful that any two words mean as many different things to as many different people as the words ‘joint custody.’
— In re Marriage of Birnbaum

 /* Style Definitions */
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
   Series: What is the Difference Between Legal Custody, Physical Custody, and Parenting Time?

Series: What is the Difference Between Legal Custody, Physical Custody, and Parenting Time?

What is Parenting Time and Why is it Important?

Parenting time is what most people mean by “getting custody.”  Parenting time is what determines how much time you spend with your child.  There are many phrases for parenting time: parenting plan, visitation schedule, parenting schedule, and custody schedule.

Parents Know Their Children Best                                                     

You and your co-parent can agree to (almost) any parenting plan you want.  The law presumes that a plan the parents agree to is in the best interest of the children. 

In Santa Clara and San Mateo County, the courts provide free mediation appointments for child custody issues.  You and your co-parent will sit down with a mediator and discuss a schedule that works best for your family.  Your attorneys will not attend this meeting.  I prepare my clients for these meetings by generating a custody schedule they would like and alternatives if the co-parent will not agree to their first choice.

These discussions often focus on work schedules, the children’s school and extracurricular activities, the children’s sleep schedules, and the age and ability of the children to handle extended time away from their primary parent.

If you are unable to reach an agreement at the mediation session, the judge will make custody orders in your case.

Parenting Schedules

California does not have any guideline or presumed parenting schedules.   Other states and countries do have age-based parenting plans.  In California, the court and the family have wide latitude to organize their parenting time as they see fit. 

Child Support is Calculated by Parenting Time

Child support orders are calculated by parenting time.  In general, the more time the supporting parent spends with a child, the less they will pay in child support.


 Parenting time is often the most important aspect of custody to my clients, because it is the amount of time they will spend caring for their children.  At Krueger Family Law, we understand that no two families are the same.  We take a flexible approach to reach good solutions for our clients and their families. 

If you have questions, you can contact Krueger Family Law to schedule a consultation.