Visitation rights refer to the ability of a non-custodial parent or other person to visit their biological child or another child. Generally, California agrees that visitation rights for the non-custodial parent are a good thing—unless it goes against the best interests of the child.
For family members or third parties, the question of visitation in California is far less clear cut.
Read on to learn more about how you can get visitation rights in California and how a family lawyer can help.
Custody refers to the legal and physical custody of a child. Visitation is a plan in which both parents agree to when, where, and how both parents will share time with the child. The parent who has a child the majority of the time has custody; the other parent, if they are allowed to do so, has visitation.
If you currently do not have visitation rights to your biological child, there are a couple different ways you can go about the process of getting access to your child. In California, courts cannot deny visitation rights to a biological parent just because they were never married to the other parent.
In many cases, the two biological parents can come up with their own visitation, or time-share, plan. If the two parents agree, it is not necessary to get a court order, and the agreement becomes binding.
If an agreement still cannot be struck, then a judge will meet with you both and issue a court order that is both binding and enforceable.
At the end of the day, you could be denied visitation if the court determines that visitation with you goes against the best interests of the child.
Visitation orders can be modified. Judges almost always approve visitation plan changes that both parents agree to. If both parents still do not agree, one parent can petition the court for a change to the existing order.
Doing so generally requires filing paperwork and demonstrating what has changed since the last ruling to make a new order reasonable. These hearings are often complicated, so hiring an attorney who can help you plead your case could be an advantage.
California law is less straightforward on the issue of non-parental visitation. In some cases, grandparents may enjoy visitation rights to children whose parent is deceased, or in other circumstances.
The same can also be true for other family members or third parties. However, same as it is for questions of parental visitation rights, the court primarily considers the child’s best interests when making a decision.
Getting visitation rights to your child can feel like a challenge, especially when you don’t agree with the other parent or you aren’t the biological parent. These issues are challenging for anyone to tackle on their own. Fortunately, a family law specialist from The Law Office of Laurence J. Brock can advocate for your visitation rights in California.
Contact an attorney from our firm right away by calling 909-466-7661 or by filling out the form below with your contact information.