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San Jose Family Law Attorney Discusses Visitation Rights for Parents and Nonparents

Generally, in making a child custody order between parents, the court must grant the noncustodial parent reasonable visitation rights unless it is shown that visitation would be detrimental to the best interest of the child. This is because it is considered of utmost important for the minor child to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents. Detriment to a minor child’s best interest warranting a suspension or denial of parent visitation rights may be based on a finding of child abuse or domestic violence endangering the child’s health, safety or welfare. A finding of detriment warranting a denial of parental custody does not automatically warrant a denial of visitation. The public policy interest in encouraging a continuing relationship with both parents generally means that a parent denied custody should be deprived of visitation only upon a clear showing that any contact would negatively affect the minor child.

In a family code custody and visitation proceeding, California law gives the Court discretion to grant reasonable visitation rights to a nonparent having an interest in the welfare of the child. However, such nonparental visitation rights are subservient to a parent’s 14th Amendment substantive due process fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care, custody and control of their children. As such, courts may not disregard and overturn a fit custodial parent’s visitation decision whenever a third party affected by the decision files a visitation petition. At the same time, at least with regard to grandparents seeking visitation, parents’ due process right to make decisions concerning their child’s care, custody and control does not necessarily preclude a court from granting the nonparent visitation over the objection of a fit parent.

If you have any additional questions about child custody and visitation or any other family law issue, such as spousal support, child support and issues related to division of marital property, please contact Sagaria Law. Our team of family law attorneys can answer any family law questions you may have and assist you through the process. We represent clients from Santa Clara County, Alameda County, Monterey County, San Mateo County, and surrounding areas. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation to speak with one of our attorneys.