If you have children, the most important part of the divorce process is figuring out how to share the responsibilities of raising your child with your soon-to-be ex once you are separated. As you start determining child custody and support arrangements, it is important to understand the types of visitation available to a non-custodial parent.
In many divorce cases, one parent becomes the custodial parent and is primarily responsible for the child's day-to-day care. The custodial parent will have physical custody of the child, meaning that the child will live in their home most of the time. The parent who has the child less than 50 percent of the time is generally referred to as the non-custodial parent and will be awarded visitation.
Visitation orders vary depending on the family and the best interests of the child. In many families, parents and the court will come up with a set visitation schedule that specifies where the child will be and when. Generally, the schedule will address weekends, holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions, as well as weeks where the child has time off from school.
Another type of visitation order is referred to as a reasonable visitation order. This type of order does not generally specify exactly where the child will be on certain days. Instead, this type of order allows for flexibility by giving the parents the chance to work out the details amongst themselves. These orders don't usually work unless both parents are civil with each other and able to communicate effectively with regards to their children.
Supervised visitation orders are often used in situations where there is concern that the child is unsafe when he or she is with the non-custodial parent or in situations where the parent and child are unfamiliar with each other. In such cases, the court will insist that any visitation be supervised by the other parent, another adult, or someone from an agency. Lastly, if it is in the child's best interest to keep one parent away from them altogether, that parent may not be awarded any visitation.
Determining which type of custody and visitation arrangement is right for you and your children can be challenging. To discuss which type of visitation order is right for your situation, you can speak to a California family law attorney.