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Types of visitation judges order in child custody matters

Most parents want to spend as much time with their children as they can despite their relationship with the other parent. In considering child custody matters, California courts typically agree that children need both parents in their lives. Even when parents share custody or have joint physical custody, it is sometimes difficult for that time to truly be 50/50. After awarding primary physical custody to one parent (the parent with whom the children live the majority of the time), the court then awards visitation for the other parent in one of the following forms.

Under ordinary circumstances, a visitation schedule is devised to allow the other parent time with the children that may also include virtual visitation (regular, scheduled electronic contact with the children such as FaceTime, Skype or webcam, among other things). In some cases, the noncustodial parent's time with the children requires supervision by a representative of a California agency or another responsible adult. This happens when there are questions regarding the safety of the children or when the parent being granted visitation has not shared a regular relationship with the children and needs to "get to know" the children.

In some cases, the physical and/or emotional well-being of the children would be in jeopardy if the other parent received visitation (even if supervised), and the court may deny it to that parent. This occurs when substantial evidence of domestic violence and/or child abuse exists. The court's duty is to safeguard the best interests of the children, and if that means no contact with one of the parents, that is what the court will order.

Before the court will award a certain type of visitation, each party may have a chance to present evidence as to why it should be handled in a particular manner. After weighing the evidence and considering what would be in the best interests of the children, a decision is made. A child custody attorney could help a parent put his or her best foot forward for the court regardless of what the visitation goal may be.

Source: FindLaw, "Visitation Rights in California", July 15, 2017

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