In California, either parent may have joint custody of their children. A parent can also be awarded sole custody if the other parent presents a serious threat to the safety and welfare of his/her child. In every divided family going through divorce or legal separation or in matters of paternity, custody and timeshare is foundational in establishing child support and visitation orders.

If you file for divorce and have children, a major hurdle you may face is deciding how to divide child custody and visitation. Custody and timeshare with each parent go hand-in-hand. In California, the amount of time a parent spends with his/her children is known as custodial timeshare. The amount of time spent with each child has a direct impact on how much child support each parent pays. Child support can be calculated once parents set up a custody and timeshare agreement. Read on to learn more about custody and timeshare in California.]

Visitation and Custody in California

There are two types of custody orders in California: legal and physical custody. Establishing timeshare agreements falls under a physical custody order. Physical custody can be joint or sole. Sole physical custody means that the children live with one parent most of the time and visit the other parent on a limited basis. Joint custody means the children live with both parents. Joint physical custody does not mean children split their time between parents 50/50. One parent will typically have the children more than half of the time.

“It was so easy to set up our custody timeshare arrangement with A People’s Choice” T. McCain
“Our agreement spelled out exactly how much time we each had so there were no arguments.” T. McCain

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Common Visitation, Custody and Timeshare Arrangements

There are four different types of visitation orders: visitation according to a schedule, reasonable visitation, supervised visitation, and no visitation. Visitation according to a schedule is ideal for most families. A court may order supervised visitation for a specified period. Custody orders are not permanent and may be modified under a significant change of circumstances.

Holiday & Special Event Timeshare Schedule

In addition to planning a weekly custody and timeshare share schedule, parents must create a holiday and special event timeshare arrangement. Most parents usually agree to alternate visitation time with their children every other holiday or school break. Birthdays and three-day weekends may also be alternated. Create a timeshare schedule that is in your child’s best interest. Divorcing spouses can mutually benefit if they reach a timeshare and custody arrangement outside of court.

Estimating Custody and Timeshare Between Parents

There are no mandated rules in California for figuring timeshare. Couples that agree between themselves can calculate the amount of time each parent has with the children any way the parents can agree on. Here is a guide that describes various timeshare arrangements.

Weekend6 pm Friday to 6 pm Sunday
Extended weekendClose of school Friday to opening of school Monday
EveningAfter school to after dinner
OvernightClose of school midweek to opening of school next day
Alternate holidaysNew Year’s, President’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, July 4, Thanksgiving (2 days), Christmas, child’s birthday.
Summer vacation12 weeks (84 days) mid-June to September 1
School vacationSummer, 2 weeks at Christmas, 1 week Spring, 2 days Thanksgiving, plus seven other days. (school holidays vary from one district to another).


Common Parenting arrangement:

Child support is typically based on a calculation of how much time (percentage) each parent has with the children. Below is a chart that will identify how these percentages are calculated based on common parenting arrangement and visitation options.

Description of Parenting arrangementDays%
1 weekend per month247
1 extended weekend per month3610
1 weekend per month plus one evening per week5014
Alternate weekends5214
Alternate weekends plus 2 weeks in summer6718
Alternate weekends and holidays plus 2 weeks of summer7320
Alternate weekends plus 1 evening per week7821
Alternate extended weekends7821
Alternate weekends plus 1 overnight per week7821
Alternate weekends and holidays plus 4 weeks of summer8624
Alternate weekends and holidays plus half of summer10027
Alternate extended weekends plus 1 evening per week10429
Alternate weekends and holidays plus 1 evening per week plus 4 weeks of summer11231
Alternate weekends and one evening per week plus half of school vacations13537
Three days per week13537

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Parents should remain flexible when determining a timeshare arrangement. Contact A People’s Choice for more information on timeshare and custody in California. We can help couples create a mutually agreeable custody and timeshare agreement or file a motion so the court can establish a custody and timeshare order. Call 800-747-2780 today.