Divorce is especially complicated when parents decide to go their separate ways. In addition to dividing your property, you and your spouse will also have to figure out child support and custody agreements. However, neither custody or child support orders cover visitation schedules. A judge will order a visitation schedule when you or your spouse does not have physical custody. There are also four different types of visitation. Do you know which kind is right for your family?
- Schedule-based visitation allows you and your soon-to-be-ex to collaborate in creating a plan. This allows you to lay out which holidays, birthdays and vacations each parent will spend with the child. Being able to plan your time with your child down to the date and time reduces confusion and conflict and can prevent surprises.
- Reasonable visitation orders are open-ended agreements that are more informal than schedule-based orders. This can be a great approach If you and your spouse can communicate well enough to make this more open-ended approach work. However, the less-structured format can lead to more conflicts.
- Supervised visitation orders happen when a judge has concerns for the child’s safety due to domestic violence, child abuse, drug abuse or the visiting parent is an abduction risk. Yet, a judge may also order supervised visitation if your child has little-to-no relationship with the other parent.
- No visitation orders occur in situations where visiting parent poses emotional or physical harm to your child, even with supervised visits.
How California determines ’child’s best interest.’
No matter which visitation agreement a judge orders for your family, you will likely hear the phrase ‘child’s best interest.’ This is a common set of guidelines a court will use to determine custody and visitation agreements.
A court will consider your child’s age and health and which parent can best meet those needs based on those factors. They will also factor in your child’s relationship with you and their other parent, as well as where the location of their school and other community connections. Of course, the presence of domestic violence and substance abuse are also factors.
While there are several kinds of visitation orders, there is no one best kind because each family is unique. What works best for your family may not work best for another. You know which option would work best for your family.