Visitation rights are an important issue to consider as a parent or grandparent. In California, visitation is also referred to as “parenting time,” and the agreements parents create regarding custody and visitation are referred to as “parenting plans.” As with other family law matters involving children, the goal is to come to an arrangement that is in the child’s best interests.
The court will put the child’s needs first when ruling on visitation matters and will consider the child’s well-being when reviewing proposed parenting plans. With decades of experience in family law, our Orange County child visitation lawyers at Sullivan Law & Associates are here to help and guide you through your case. Whether you want to pursue parenting time with your child, need to challenge a visitation request, or are a grandparent who wishes to establish or keep a meaningful relationship with your grandchild, we can advise you on how to protect your and your child’s best interests.
If you are the legal parent of a child and have unsuccessfully reached an agreement concerning visitation arrangements with the child’s other parent, you have two options for how to proceed. First, you and the other parent may work with a mediator who can strive to help you reach an agreement. Alternatively, you can file a petition with the court to give you an order that grants you visitation.
To file for visitation through the court, you will need to complete a petition form. You will be required to include some personal information, such as the names and addresses of the parties, as well as the specific visitation rights you are seeking. You will then need to file the petition with the county clerk. During the visitation hearing, you and the child’s other parent will have the opportunity to present your case, providing the judge with evidence and witness testimonies. After the judge reviews all the evidence, the court will make a ruling based on the best interest of your child. The court will then issue a visitation order with guidelines that both parties must comply with.
The “best interests of the child” is a phrase you will hear many times in any custody or visitation case. In granting parenting time or approving a parenting plan, the court may consider:
In some cases, the court may award supervised visitation or may deny visitation altogether. With modern technology, there is also the possibility of virtual visitation, via webcam, video phone, or computer software. When you work with a lawyer at our firm, you have the benefit of our experienced legal representation as we assert your rights as a parent or grandparent. Your well-being is important to our team, and we will work closely with you to identify and achieve your goals.
In most cases, a court will listen to a child’s preference for visitation if the child is 14 years or older. There are some exceptions to this rule in situations where the court believes that it is not in the best interest of the child to listen to his or her wishes. When the child is under the age of 14, a judge must decide whether or not it is the child’s best interest to take into consideration their preference.