In California, when courts come to a decision on visitation rights, or "parenting time," they base their ruling on a number of different factors. Ultimately, these decisions always align with the best interests of the child. To determine what is best for a child, a court will consider each of the following factors:
- The child's age
- The child's health
- Ties to schools and family
- The strength of the child's relationship with the parents
- The child's desires
- The parent's ability to care for the child
A decision will be made after a thorough investigation of the facts surrounding the child's living situation, including the impact that parental custody and visitation would have on their wellbeing. A visitation schedule will then be made to fit the child's unique needs. This arrangement can come in a variety of different forms, including scheduled visitation, reasonable visitation, supervised visitation, or no visitation rights at all.
Common Types of Visitation Arrangements
The first type of arrangement involves scheduled visitation. Exactly as it sounds, this arrangement involves pre-arranged blocks of time that are set aside for you and your child. This type of visitation scheme is useful in that it details specific dates and times for each parent, eliminating the risk of confusion. This can include times such as holidays, special occasions, and vacations.
Second, a reasonable visitation arrangement can be imposed. Reasonable visitation is very open-ended, as it does not have specific details about when each parent has a right to spend time with their children. Instead, it simply states that both parents have a right to see their children. This situation is only granted to parents who show the ability to communicate with each other in a reasonable manner, as it can quickly create conflict if they do not cooperate.
Supervised visitation, the third option, is self-explanatory: this arrangement grants visitation rights with the caveat that someone else is present to supervise. This may be granted if the child and parent don't know each other well, or if the parent has a history of substance abuse or mental illness.
Finally, no visitation rights may be granted at all if contact between a parent and child is deemed unhealthy to the child. This is reserved for particularly egregious cases of abuse or other instances of considerably harmful behavior.
Facing a divorce? The Murrieta divorce attorneys at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich include a lawyer who is a Certified Family Law Specialist with the California Board of Legal Specialization. Call our office today at (951) 506-6654 to learn how we can help protect your right to visit your children.