In a divorce, the court makes most decisions when the parties don’t find common ground. The most feared decision by parents is the one concerning their child’s custody. Sometimes, the court awards legal custody to both parents but physical custody to only one of them. In that case, the parent that does not live with the child has visitation rights. In California, there are four types of visitation rights. The court will award a different order depending on the child’s best interests.
The 4 types of visitation orders
Not every family is the same, and not every child has the same needs. For this reason, the courts in California decide how much time a parent has the right to spend with their child depending on their specific circumstances. To make a decision, they consider the child’s best interests, the parent’s situation and their relationship. The four types of visitation orders are:
- Visitation according to schedule: includes a visitation plan with detailed dates and times that each parent will spend with the child.
- Reasonable visitation: flexible orders without a fixed schedule in which the parents coordinate to set the time each of them will spend with the child.
- Supervised visitation: only allows visitation under supervision by the other parent or another adult.
- No visitation: the noncustodial parent cannot visit the child.
The non-residential parent can disagree with the court’s decision by asking for a hearing, where they have the right to prove to the judge that the initial visitation order would negatively affect the child.
The courts can order supervised visitation for different reasons. Usually, they order this type of visitation when there is a history of domestic violence, child abuse or neglect. However, this type of custody also works in the following cases:
- To give the visiting parent a chance to address their issues
- The help reintroduce a parent and a child after a long absence
- To help introduce a parent that has never met the child
- When the parent has a mental illness
- When the parent threats to abduct or hurt the child
Those who have a supervised visitation order don’t have to be supervised by the other parent. In some cases, a supervised visitation provider will do this instead. The provider will monitor the visitation and ensure that no harm comes to the child.
The rights of noncustodial parents
A visitation order doesn’t have to be permanent. The noncustodial parent can ask the court to modify the order if their circumstances change in the future. Every parent deserves to see their child, and they have the right to seek more visitation time if this would benefit their child.