Protect Your Visitation Rights During Child Custody Cases
In the case of separation or divorce, parents must establish child custody and visitation rights. These serve to establish the role each parent will play in their child’s life, including where the child will live, how the child will be raised, and how often the child will see each parent. If you do not have physical custody of your child, you are typically entitled to visitation rights. To ensure you receive the time you deserve with your child, it is important to have the right representation on your side. Our legal team at MCJG is an invaluable resource for parents struggling with child custody and visitation rights.
California Visitation Laws
Visitation laws dictate how parents will spend time with their children after divorce. A parent may be granted physical or legal custody of any children. Physical custody dictates where the child will live, and legal custody relates to the child’s upbringing. Parents who do not have physical custody of their child, also known as noncustodial parents, are often granted visitation rights. There are three forms of visitation:
- Scheduled visitation: The court establishes a visitation schedule to prevent conflicts between parents. This details the days and times that the child will be with each parent.
- Reasonable visitation: This order is more flexible than scheduled visitation. It does not specify when children need to be with each parent and allows parents to create their own schedule.
- Supervised visitation: If the child’s well-being is in question, visits may be supervised by a third-party. This may be the case if the child and parent have not seen each other for an extended period of time. Supervised visitation can also be requested if one parent is suspected to have a drug or alcohol problem or a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental illness. The court can determine the time and place of these visits, as well as the supervising party.
In the case that a parent poses an imminent threat to a child or demonstrates abusive tendencies, a judge may relinquish all visitation rights to protect the best interests of the child.
Establishing Visitation Rights
If you are a noncustodial parent already involved in a family law case, you must prepare and file a motion for visitation. You can then present this motion to the presiding judge, provided you and the other parent agree upon the visitation request. Noncustodial parents must be up-to-date on their child support obligations when a visitation request is filed.
If you are not involved in a family law case, we can initiate one. We can file a petition on your behalf to establish custody and child support obligations. If the case is initiated by the father, we must first establish paternity. You must also provide proof that you are satisfying your child support obligations.
Modifying a Visitation Order
Families are likely to go through numerous changes in the years before the child turns 18, especially if the child is very young at the time of the divorce or separation. Some changes that may require a modification of your visitation order include the relocation of a parent or an inability to meet the requirements of the existing visitation order. The parent who files for a modification must prove circumstances have changed, making the previous order unsustainable. Again, the court will make a decision based on the child’s best interests.