Most parents who go through a divorce have one worry top of mind: protecting their relationship with their child. The time you spend with your kids is invaluable. A separation can spark fear, anger and worry over how this might suffer – particularly if your former partner has the child more than half of the time.

Here in California, there are generally four types of visitation orders a non-custodial parent might receive from the court. Here is a brief overview of each.

1. Reasonable

Reasonable visitation generally only works when separated parents still get along well. Essentially, the exact days and times a child will be with one parent or the other are not set in stone. Instead, the parents are entrusted to work it out as needed.

While this sounds nice, it can quickly backfire. One dispute could leave you in a difficult position without much recourse. When this happens, it can mean a return to court to establish a more detailed visitation schedule.

2. According to a schedule

This is a common arrangement. With a visitation according to schedule, the time a child will spend with each parent is very specifically spelled out as part of an agreed-upon plan. It will often include:

  • A regularly scheduled visitation period
  • Holidays
  • Vacation time
  • Special occasions

The clarity that comes with this schedule can help reduce potential conflict between parents.

3. Supervised

A court might order supervised visitation if there is a concern about the child being alone with one parent. It is also used when a parent has not seen their child for a long time, and the court thinks an adjustment period would be beneficial.

4. No visitation

Simply put, if a judge believes one parent is a danger to the child (physically or emotionally), they may order no visitation.

It is possible to request a change to an existing visitation order, but doing so requires you to follow a specific modification process. At the end of the day, the goal is to protect your relationship with your child. There are many ways to go about doing this while the matter works its way through the court process.