Four options for visitation in California child custody cases
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Four options for visitation in California child custody cases

Parents in the San Diego area who have divorced or are no longer in a relationship with one another will have to make some important decisions regarding child custody. In California, physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with and when. Sometimes one parent will be awarded sole physical custody and the other parent has visitation periods with the child. This post will cover the various types of visitation orders California courts may award, but as always, when it comes to child custody and visitation it is important to seek legal advice, which this post does not provide.

First, there is visitation according to a schedule. This type of order will outline the specific dates and times each parent will have the child in their care, including holidays, special occasions and vacations. The benefit of this type of visitation order is that it provides predictability and consistency that can help prevent any conflict or confusion.

Second, there is reasonable visitation. This type of order does not necessarily outline specific times each parent will have the child in their care. It is open-ended, in that the parents will work out between themselves who will have the child in their care and when. If parents can cooperate and have an amicable relationship, such flexibility can be beneficial. However, such an open schedule could be problematic if the parents have a tendency to disagree with one another.

Third, there is supervised visitation. This type of order may be established if the child’s safety and well-being is at risk if the child is in the care of the noncustodial parent. During supervised visitation, the spouse with physical custody, another adult or a professional agency will supervise visitation periods. Supervised visitation may also be awarded if the noncustodial parent has been absent during most of a child’s life and both the child and the noncustodial parent need time to get to know each other.

Finally, in some situations no visitation will be awarded. This may be the case if the child would be physically or emotionally harmed if placed in the care of the noncustodial parent.

Ultimately, which type of visitation order will be based on what is in the best interests of the child. Absent cases of abuse or neglect, generally it is important that the child has a meaningful relationship with both parents. This means the child and parent deserve to spend time with one another in a way that fosters love and support.

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