Basics of Visitation Orders in California

visitation time

Visitation, also know as time-sharing is part of a child custody agreement. It details how the parents will share time with their children. In the state of California, either parent can have custody of the children, or the parents can both share custody. Are you curious to know more about how visitation works and how it relates to custody? Today, we discuss all you would like to know about visitation. 

What Are the Different Types of Visitation Orders?

Visitation orders vary depending on the family's situation and what the parents or the court found to be in the best interests of the children. In general, here are the different types of visitation orders:

  • Visitation according to a schedule

A visitation schedule provides the parents with a way to stay organized and avoid conflict when sharing time with their children. Visitation schedules can include information on how holidays, birthdays, vacations, and other special dates will be divided between two households. 

  • Reasonable visitation

A reasonable visitation order is a bit more open-ended as it allows parents to work out how they would like to share time with their children. This works best with parents who had an amicable divorce and can co-parent together without much conflict. Parents who communicate effectively and are a bit more open-minded when it comes to scheduling, typically find this type of visitation to work well for them. 

  • Supervised visitation

This type of visitation is ordered when a child's safety would be at risk is he/she was left alone with a parent. This visitation must be supervised by the other parent or another adult. This can also be used sometimes in cases where a child has not seen one parent for an extended period of time and needs additional care and support while getting comfortable with this parent again. 

  • No visitation

No visitation means that one parent cannot visit their child, even with supervision, as doing so could cause physical, emotional, or mental harm to the child. In these instances, it is not in the best interests of the child for the parent to have any contact with him/her. 

How Is Visitation Determined? 

A court will review the following factors when determining visitation: 

  • Child's age
  • Child's health 
  • Relationship between the child and each parent 
  • Ability of the parents to care for the child
  • Any history of family violence or substance abuse
  • Other factors the court views are in the child's best interests

How to Obtain a Visitation Court Order

In most cases, parents can establish their own visitation order without any involvement from the court. However, if you cannot agree with your co-parent on a visitation agreement, you will need the court's help. The court will send you to mediation first to meet with a mediator from Family Court Services or another court-related program to help you resolve your issues. If this is not effective, then you will meet with the judge who will decide your visitation schedule for you. 

For assistance with visitation, contact our office online or call us at (949) 577-7935 to schedule a consultation.