While one parent gets custodial rights, the other one deserves visitation rights. However, the awarding isn’t always as straightforward as one may expect because many other factors come into play. That’s why it’s important to have an Orange County family law attorney to represent you and protect your rights.
Similar to awarding child custody in California, the court has to examine each parenting situation to decide on matters of visitation. We’ll look at the various factors the courts consider when awarding visitation rights in California.
What Criteria is Used for Granting Visitation Rights?
The parents don’t need to have been married before for the non-custodial parent to be awarded visitation rights.
When they apply, the court will not consider either parent’s:
- Sexual orientation
- Physical disability
Instead, the child’s interests are usually given priority. The court will consider:
- The child’s health and age
- The existing ties between the non-custodial parent and the child
- The non-custodial parent’s ability to provide and care for the child
- Any history of drug/alcohol abuse or domestic violence
- The ties the child has with her school or community
What Types of Visitations Can the Court Grant?
Every parental situation is different, and the court can award various types of visitation rights to suit the prevailing circumstances. Orange County child visitation attorneys can ensure that you get the most suitable kind of arrangement.
In such arrangements, the visitation might be done in the presence of an outside agency representative, another adult, or the other parent. This happens when the court is concerned about problems arising between the parent and the child during the visitation.
This arrangement allows the custodial and non-custodial parents to schedule the visitation themselves. It gives them the flexibility to plan the visits according to their ongoing schedules and needs.
This type of visitation clearly describes the conditions of the visitation and the times of the week or year when the visitations will be happening. The schedule could be formulated by the court, or the two parents can agree and submit it in court for approval.
The court can refuse to give the non-custodial parent the right to visit their child if it deems it unfit.
What Criteria is Used to Restrict or Deny Visitation Rights?
Sometimes, visitation rights can be denied or restricted if it has negative effects on the child. The court strives to ensure that each parent has a good relationship with their child, but various factors can force the judge to restrict or deny visitation rights.
Withheld Child Support by Financially Able Parent
Child support should typically not affect a parent’s visitation rights. For instance, the custodial parent cannot legally deny the visiting parent their right for the mere fact that he has not paid child support. However, it can be a critical factor if the parent is financially able to pay child support but has refused to do so. It is the only circumstance where the court relates visitation and child support.
Conflicting Religious Beliefs
The parent’s religion, in itself, cannot warrant a denial or restriction of visitation rights. However, if their religious practices are detrimental to the child’s welfare, visitation rights might be restricted. For example, religious beliefs that make the visiting parent disparage the other parent in the presence of the kids, making them alienated from them, can be a major factor in the judge’s decision.
Children can visit a parent in incarceration, talk to them online or via phone unless it is not in their best interest. Among the factors that are considered in granting or denying an incarcerated parent’s visitation rights are:
- The nature of the crime committed
- Their history of contact
- Whether the parent has exhibited a genuine interest in the child
- The emotional and physical effects on the child
- The distance the child has to travel to see the parent in incarceration
- Child’s age
Regular Substance Abuse
If a parent’s regular alcohol or drug abuse has effects on the child’s welfare, visitation might be limited or denied. In most cases, the parent will be restricted or forbidden from abusing drugs or consuming alcohol days before the scheduled visit or during the visitation.
Mature Child’s Preferences
The court can consider the child’s preferences in scheduling parental visits if the child is mature enough to express their opinion. Notably, there is no specific age requirement for this, and each case is examined independently. The judge will also be keen to analyze the custodial parent’s influence in it.
Emotional harm is a complex issue that needs the testimony or interpretation of the school counselor, a psychologist, or any other professional that can determine the child’s mental health. Emotional harm can appear in the form of:
- The child performing poorly after contact with the parent
- They are restrained or quiet when they are around the non-custodial parent
- They stutter when they are with the parent
Physical Harm Abuse or Violence
A parent that has threatened their child with physical violence or has physically abused the child can be denied visitation. Orange County child visitation attorneys can help non-custodial parents convince the judge that visitation is beneficial to the child’s welfare despite past history.
Can Third Parties Get Visitation Rights?
In California, the court only gives visitation rights to non-custodial parents. However, if third parties have been given visitation rights in another state, they retain those rights when they move to all other states. Without that, grandparents and siblings cannot get legal visitation rights.
The custodial parent can decide whether to allow third parties to visit or not. If they insist on visiting without their parent’s permission, they could be violating the law. In case the custodial parent dies, siblings or grandparents have to seek permission from the new custodial parent before visiting the child. Third parties that feel that legal visitation rights might be beneficial to the child can ask Orange County child visitation attorneys to help them petition in court.
Dedicated Law Firm Protecting Families in Orange County
Among the most important relationships you will ever have, is that with your child. You have rights as a non-custodial parent, but you have to fight for them. The Orange County family lawyers at Sarieh Law Offices handle hundreds of cases that are similar to yours.
Honest and aggressive representation is what you need to move forward, and we can provide just that. Talk to us through 714-542-6200 to plan your first FREE case evaluation.