How to get visitation rights

Visitation rights are afforded to the non-custodial parent in a situation involving divorce and child custody. The terms of visitation are laid out in what is called a “Child Visitation Agreement” or “Child Visitation Schedule.”

Contents

1) What Do Courts Consider When Setting Child Visitation Rights?

First and foremost, the court takes the child’s best interests into consideration, and will then consider other factors such as:

  • The age and the overall well-being of the child.
  • The location of each parent.
  • The current employment and work history of both parents.
  • If the child is old enough, the court may ask for his or her living preference.
  • Each parent’s daily work and life schedules.

Courts generally prefer both parents have an active role in their child’s life. However, if there are past issues such as abuse or domestic violence, the judge will most certainly take these into consideration, and may require supervised visitation, and in rare cases, no visitation.

2) What Are Child Visitation Agreements and What Do They Contain?

A child visitation agreement is between two parties with the shared goal of creating a visitation schedule with their child. The arrangement outlines each parent’s visitation rights, their duties, and responsibilities to their child. It is best if the parents can reach an agreement together, but if not, the court will intervene. A typical agreement may include:

  • The child’s main residence
  • A detailed visitation schedule
  • Activities
  • Geographic restrictions
  • Modification instructions

3) Who Is Allowed to Create a Child Visitation Agreement?

State laws vary, though it is not uncommon for the parent with sole custody to create the visitation schedule. He or she will then submit it to the court, and if the judge approves, it will be a court order.

If both parents can cooperate with one another, they may reach an agreement together without court approval. Since circumstances can change, it is recommended to submit the agreement to a judge, which would make it legally enforceable in case something goes wrong.

4) Who Determines Child Visitation Guidelines?

If both parties can come to an agreement on child visitation, and submit it to the judge, it can be a fairly painless process. However, tensions may be high in custody cases, and child visitation guidelines may have to be left to the court.

5) What Are the Types of Child Visitation Arrangements?

Typically, child visitation arrangements can be broken down into one of two types:

  • Unsupervised visitation – The most common visitation, that allows the non-custodial parent spend his or her scheduled time with the child without being supervised by a neutral third party.
  • Supervised visitation – The court may order supervised visitation for a variety of reasons including: reintroduction of parent and child, parenting concerns or mental illness, a history of abuse, substance abuse or neglect, and if there is a threat of kidnapping.

In supervised visitation cases, the judge will specify the time and duration of visits, and will also designate the third party who will perform the supervision.

6) How Do I Create a Valid Visitation Agreement?

Together, or with a mediator, write down all of the important issues pertaining to the rearing of your child, making sure you are placing your child’s best interests first. Also include the following:

  • Any court orders or documents, such as divorce, paternity, and child custody award.
  • Documents concerning the child, e.g., letters, evaluations, or reports.
  • The child’s daily and school schedules.

7) Can Visitation Schedules Be Modified?

It is not uncommon for a visitation schedule to be modified. Life can get busy; jobs change, people move and children become more active. If you need to modify, try to work out an agreement with the other party, then submit it to the judge.

8) Are All Child Visitation Schedules Enforceable?

A visitation schedule is only enforceable if it has been approved by a judge, or if the parties have written a legal contract. Even if you already have an agreement worked out, it is still recommended to seek approval from the court.

9) What If a Child Visitation Schedule Has Been Violated?

If one party violates the visitation schedule, serious consequences may come into play, especially if it continues. A parent may lose visitation rights, be in contempt of court, or face criminal charges.

Schedule violations typically occur when a parent keeps the child over the scheduled time, or one parent denies the other their rights to visitation. If you have an issue with the visitation schedule, contact your attorney immediately.

10) Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Child Visitation Schedule?

If you are in the process of figuring out a visitation agreement, a child visitation attorney can assist you drafting the agreement, as well as filing it with the court. Custody arrangements can be highly contentious, and having a lawyer work out the details and represent your interests can be invaluable when it comes to your parental rights.

How to get visitation rights

LegalMatch Legal Writer

Sarah worked as a paralegal for several years after earning her BA in Psychology from University of Colorado at Boulder, and her paralegal certificate from the University of California at San Diego. She also worked as a volunteer at a legal clinic to help clients expunge their criminal records, as well as an Investigative Intern with the City of San Diego. To learn more about Sarah and her professional experience, be sure to check out her Linkedin Profile.

Noncustodial parents may have the right to visitation, also called parenting time, with their child. Each state has its own procedures and forms to request visitation. To apply for visitation, you must be a legal parent of the child, meaning you must either be listed on the birth certificate or have been found to be the parent in a paternity proceeding.

How to get visitation rights

There are several ways that you can obtain the right to visit with your child, some of which are more onerous than others. But if you have a good relationship with the other parent, you can start by trying to agree on terms with them before taking further action.

Try to Reach an Agreement

The first step in seeking visitation with your child is to try to work something out with the other parent. If the two of you are able to come to an agreement, you can then turn that agreement into an order by filing a petition with the agreement attached. You then notify the other parent, who can file papers stating they agree, or you can both appear at a hearing and simply consent. The agreement then becomes the order. If you only reach an informal agreement and never get it put into an order, you cannot enforce your agreement should the other parent change their mind.

If you and the other parent cannot reach an agreement about visitation time, you have two options for how to proceed. You can agree to see a mediator, who will help you work together to reach an agreement, or you can file a petition in court seeking an order granting you visitation. Both parents must pay the mediator, if that option is chosen. If you go to court, you can do so for free, aside from any fees associated with hiring an attorney, should you choose to use one.

Filing a Petition

If you opt to go to court, obtain the petition form used by your local family court, which can usually be found on the court’s website or by picking up a form in person. The form needs to be completed with such information as the names and addresses for you and the other parent, the child’s name and age, and the visitation rights you are seeking. Be specific in your request. For example, you could say you are asking for every other weekend from Friday at 6 p.m. to Sunday at 6 p.m., every Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., two weeks of vacation over the summer, and alternating holidays. If there is a prior custody case, you need to reference the case or docket number, which you can get from the court clerk if you don’t already have it.

File the petition with the court clerk. You may be required to serve the petition on the other parent or the court might do it for you. If you are required to serve it, get details from the court clerk about what constitutes legal service. You may be able to use certified mail, or you may have to hire a process server. If you need help applying for visitation, you may want to use an online service provider.

Court Appearances

At the first court appearance, which is scheduled by the court, the judge will encourage you and the other parent to try to reach an agreement. In some states, you may be required to have a certain number of sessions with a mediator to try to work out an agreement before the case can proceed. You may also be required to meet with court personnel to try to reach a settlement.

If you don’t reach an agreement, your case will be scheduled for a hearing, at which you and the other parent will have the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses. Witnesses could include your child’s teachers, doctors, friends, or neighbors who have seen interaction between your child and either parent. Evidence could include medical records or photographs or videos of interaction with your child. You will be able to testify yourself. After reviewing all the evidence, the court will make a decision based on what is in the best interest of your child. You will usually receive the judge’s decision by mail.

Fulfilling Requirements

There is a chance that, although the judge might grant you visitation, it may come with certain requirements. For example, you could be ordered to attend parenting classes, take drug tests, or attend therapy before you are permitted to have visitation. If such requirements are given, you need to submit proof to the court that you have complied before visitation can start.

When following your visitation order, be sure to comply with the guidelines, otherwise your visitation privileges could be revoked. Also, try not to miss any visits as this can result in your visitation time being reduced since you are not actually using it.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

How to get visitation rights

There are a lot of reasons why parents don’t end up with custody of their children, and not having custody doesn’t mean that your child doesn’t need you in their life at all. It’s well-known that children generally have the best outcomes when they have both parents actively involved in their lives. You don’t necessarily need to have custody to be a presence in your child’s life.

You may be able to get visitation rights awarded to you in court. Visitation gives you the right to visit and spend time with your child. And if getting visitation rights sounds difficult, don’t worry. In many cases, a non-custodial parent can get visitation rights even without having a lawyer involved. Take a look at some tips.

Talk to Your Child’s Other Parent

It sounds too simple to be a solution. But the best place to start if you want visitation is with your child’s custodial parent. Things will go a lot more smoothly if you can get them on board. There’s more than one type of visitation. Many parents make informal visitation arrangements without any court involvement at all.

It’s better to get a formal, court-ordered visitation order. This protects your rights if the other parent changes their mind at any point. But an informal visitation arrangement can be a good temporary measure until you can go to court. Then you’ll be able to point out in court that you’re already present in your child’s life and should continue to be so.

If you and your ex can come to an informal agreement now, it will prove to the court later that you’ve been making an effort to parent your child. Furthermore, if your child’s other parent agrees to the visitation, court proceedings might not be much more than a simple formality. Except in scenarios that pose a danger to the child, a visitation plan is quickly approved by a family court judge.

Thus, start with your child’s custodial parent. Approach them in good faith, respect the job they’re doing as your child’s primary parent, and ask for an open discussion about what kind of visitation you want, what would be appropriate for your child, and how to get started. They may not give you exactly what you want. But if they’re at least open to talking about it, that’s a good place to start.

Consider Mediation

You and your child’s other parent generally agree that you should have some type of visitation. But then disagree on the particulars, mediation might be a good way to come to an agreement. Mediation is a process that involves having a neutral third party facilitate negotiations to resolve a legal dispute.

Courts sometimes order parents to try to resolve custody and visitation disputes through mediation before going to court for a resolution. In other cases, parents opt for mediation on their own. If the family courts in your area don’t require mediation, then your child’s other parent doesn’t have to agree to it. You don’t need to be represented by a lawyer to participate in mediation.

During mediation, you’ll be asked to present your side of the story and outline the main issues that you want to have addressed. The other party will do the same. Then discussions will begin. The mediator present is to help keep the discussion on track. As well as to help you reach an agreement that works for both of you.

Represent Yourself in Family Court

If you haven’t had any luck getting your child’s other parent to agree to a visitation arrangement, and mediation is unsuccessful or not on the table, your next step is to ask the family court to award visitation. This is where many parents get discouraged. They believe that they can’t win visitation rights without hiring an expensive lawyer.

But the truth is that in many cases, parents can successfully represent themselves in family court. In custody and visitation cases, the courts follow the best interests of the child standard. Finding a solution that’s in the best interests of the child involved is an important principle, but it’s not a complicated one.

You’ll start by filing a petition for visitation with the local family court. If there’s a previous divorce or custody case, you will need to reference that case’s docket number. If there are no previous court proceedings, you may need to first prove that you are the parent of the child in question. Usually by providing a birth certificate or submitting to a paternity test.

Your Time in Court

You’ll have the opportunity to present witnesses and evidence at the hearing. Witnesses could include family, friends, or others who have seen your interactions with your child. Evidence could include letters, phone and text records, or other forms of proof that you’ve tried to build or maintain a relationship with your child as well as negotiating visitation with your child’s custodial parent. You might also want to include any evidence that you’ve contributed financially to your child.

You’ll also be given the opportunity to testify yourself. It’s so you can explain to the court why you currently don’t have visitation. And, what you’ve tried to do to maintain a presence in your child’s life. Also, how you see yourself contributing to your child’s life through further contact. Even if you don’t have a lawyer, you don’t have to do everything yourself. One good source of help is a legal resource group such as National Family Solutions.

A legal resource group can’t represent you in court. But they can give you the tools you need to represent yourself. They can help you with document preparation and storage. In addition, help you prepare your testimony, and refer you to experts who may be able to help with your case. With the help of a legal resource group, you can be confident and prepared when presenting your case in family court, increasing your chances of success.

No Legal Advice Intended

The contents of this website are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions. The contents of this website, and the posting and viewing of the information on this website, should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, legal advice or any particular circumstance or fact situation. The information presented on this website may not reflect the most current legal developments. No action should be taken in reliance on the information contained on this website and we disclaim all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this site to the fullest extent permitted by law. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues.

Debrina Washington is a New York-based family law attorney and writer, who runs her own virtual practice to assist single parents with legal issues.

Adah Chung is a fact checker, writer, researcher, and occupational therapist.

Mike Kemp / Getty Images

Parents who are denied child custody in court are often granted generous visitation rights. In most cases, the courts strongly support and encourage the involvement of both parents, even when they determine that living in one consistent location would be in the child’s best interests. Therefore, if you recently lost a bid for custody in court, you should exercise your visitation rights and maintain a close relationship with your child. As a first step, you’ll need to understand why you were not granted custody and what your visitation rights are.

Reasons Parents Are Denied Child Custody

The court's primary concern is your child's safety and well-being. Yet, being denied custody doesn't necessarily mean that the judge determined that your home is unsuitable. In many cases, the courts favor granting physical custody to the parent who has been the child's primary caregiver up to that point, or they conclude that traveling back and forth between two homes is not in the child's best interests.

To find out more about why the judge in your case ruled against your request for custody, you'll need to reference the judge's written ruling. It may also help to read up on the child custody laws in your jurisdiction, which vary from state to state.

Visitation Rights

Even if you’ve been denied custody, you may be granted visitation rights with your child. This typically happens during the child custody hearing. In many jurisdictions, the courts will issue a formal visitation schedule which includes a detailed account of the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights. Also called a parenting time schedule, the visitation schedule may grant you visitation rights on:  

  • Weekends or alternate weekends
  • One or two weeknights (weekly or on alternating weeks)
  • Holidays
  • Summer vacations

Courts generally prefer to see parents collaborate on the logistics. However, if you and your ex do not have a good working relationship or are unable to reach an agreement, the judge may step in and determine an appropriate visitation schedule for you.

Help for Parents Denied Visitation

In some cases, parents may be denied visitation rights in addition to child custody. Some of the reasons why a parent's visitation rights may be denied by the courts include:

  • The parent has not exercised his or her visitation rights in the past
  • The parent no longer has contact with the child
  • Because the court finds evidence of domestic violence that was directed toward the child, the child’s parent, or a sibling  
  • The parent has a history of alcohol or drug abuse  
  • The parent’s parental rights have been terminated

Parents who have been denied visitation may have the opportunity to later have their visitation rights restored. In some cases, the court will spell out an action plan that includes taking parenting classes or other steps toward restoration.

If you are denied visitation by the court, ask about the possibility of working toward the restoration of those rights over time.

Types of Alternative Visitation Rights

While regular, unrestricted visitation may be preferable, there are some alternatives for parents who have been denied visitation. These include:

  • Supervised Visitation Rights: The court may order supervised visitation rights, which includes court-ordered contact between a parent and a child that is supervised by another person. The court will generally order supervised visitation rights in situations where the courts believe the parent could pose a physical danger to the child.
  • Virtual Visitation Rights: The court may allow you to participate in virtual visitation with the child or children.   In such cases, the custodial parent shall be required to facilitate virtual visits via Skype, FaceTime, or another video service.

Modifying Visitation Rights

If your current visitation schedule is no longer desirable, or you wish to have the courts re-evaluate your case, you can request a modification of visitation rights. Some jurisdictions limit how often you can file such a request, so you'll want to check with the court clerk or your lawyer for more information about how to formally request a modification.

How to get visitation rights

Child visitation rights are something that courts and judges want to grant to the non-custodial parent because they realize that it is important for each parent to have a significant presence in a child’s life.

For many parents, the most upsetting thing in the world is not being able to see your children every day. The thought of your children spending the majority of their time with the other parent and not with you can be a painful emotion where you may feel as though you have lost control and don’t know where to turn. But setting up a proper child visitation schedule and gaining visitation rights to see your children on a regular basis can help ease the pain. Don’t let fear control how you live your life – speak with an expert child visitation attorney that handles visitation matters for a free consultation today and get the child visitation help and support you deserve.

Child Visitation Issues Can Be Solved

Child visitation is a highly contested issue, and one that requires much thought. Expert family law attorneys are here to help guide you through the process and are happy to provide 100% free consultations to show you what they can do to help your situation.

I’m Not the Custodial / Residential Parent, What Does That Mean?

If you are not the custodial parent, it means that your children live for the majority of time with the other parent, called the custodial or residential parent. First, any parent that is not the custodial or residential parent should understand that it is not the end of the world. Child visitation rights are something that courts and judges want to grant to the non-custodial parent because they realize that it is important for each parent to have a significant presence in a child’s life. Contacting an experienced child visitation attorney is your best chance at securing your family’s rights.

There are many aspects that can affect how much time each parent spends with their child, but only an experienced family law attorney specializing in child visitation rights and child custody rights can let you know how your personal situation fits within the law. One of the most damaging pieces of evidence to a non-custodial parent in a child visitation battle is waiting too long to start. Judges that deal with parents that waited too long to start fighting for visitation rights ask the question, “how important is it to you if you waited this long to start fighting for your rights as a parent? Don’t get caught in that trap, get help now! And if you did wait a long time, because you may have hoped to work something out with the other parent and it hit the skids, don’t panic, it can be reversed and it can be fixed, but you cannot wait any longer to act – fight for your child visitation right immediately. We make it easy for you to contact a child visitation attorney for free to find out how they can help you!

Some things a court generally will take into account are:

  • How long the non-custodial parent waited before fighting for their visitation rights
  • Living conditions of the non-custodial parent’s home
  • Whether the non-custodial parent has spent time with the child in the past
  • Has the non-custodial parent had overnight time alone with the child
  • Whether there has been any history of abuse by the non-custodial parent
  • Geographical location of the non-custodial parent (out of state, 100 miles away, etc)

Some things a court will generally not take into account are:

  • Whether the non-custodial parent has paid child support
  • Whether the non-custodial parent is employed
  • Whether the non-custodial parent is remarried

Contacting a visitation lawyer for an evaluation is your best bet to finding out some of the answers you need in order to get started on securing your rights to visitation and parenting time with your child. Don’t let your child visitation rights be derailed by doing the wrong thing, learn your rights!

How Does Joint Custody vs. Sole Custody Determine My Visitation Rights?

For the most part, courts have relaxed the meaning of joint custody vs. sole custody over the recent years. The main difference is that with sole custody, the parent that is the residential parent makes the majority of the everyday decisions without needing to consult the non-custodial parent for permission. This includes after school activities like sports or band, and also includes such minor routine things as what dentist the child may see as well. Whether a joint or sole custody agreement has been made, both parents must be present for the big decisions in the child’s life, a and a good visitation attorney will lay out the differences in a Parenting Agreement and Custody Order that the court will enter. This can help solve your child visitation issues.

Whether you are the non-custodial parent in a joint custody or sole custody situation you still have rights to visitation to your child. Do not ever believe that simply because one parent has sole custody that you are not able to have parenting time with them; this is untrue. Courts want to grant visitation rights to non-custodial parents in an amount as close to 50% as possible, if possible, based on geographic location, school district and other factors, so long as it does not disrupt the child’s schedule. Experienced family law attorneys will know whether you have been the victim of another parents withholding of your child and will fight for your visitation rights—in many states, visitation interference is now a crime!

How Do I Start Fighting for My Visitation Rights?

Simple—fill out the form on this page to get started with a no obligation consultation. Only a child visitation attorney specifically trained and experienced in family law can help guide you through the complex system that lies ahead. Having a proven advocate that has fought for, and won, numerous cases similar to yours is necessary to secure your visitation rights with your child. Waiting can often be the worst thing to do because judges do not like to see that you sat on your hands while not being able to see your child. Get started today with a free consultation—your family is depending on you to fight for them!

Visitation rights are afforded to the non-custodial parent in a situation involving divorce and child custody. The terms of visitation are laid out in what is called a “Child Visitation Agreement” or “Child Visitation Schedule.”

Contents

1) What Do Courts Consider When Setting Child Visitation Rights?

First and foremost, the court takes the child’s best interests into consideration, and will then consider other factors such as:

  • The age and the overall well-being of the child.
  • The location of each parent.
  • The current employment and work history of both parents.
  • If the child is old enough, the court may ask for his or her living preference.
  • Each parent’s daily work and life schedules.

Courts generally prefer both parents have an active role in their child’s life. However, if there are past issues such as abuse or domestic violence, the judge will most certainly take these into consideration, and may require supervised visitation, and in rare cases, no visitation.

2) What Are Child Visitation Agreements and What Do They Contain?

A child visitation agreement is between two parties with the shared goal of creating a visitation schedule with their child. The arrangement outlines each parent’s visitation rights, their duties, and responsibilities to their child. It is best if the parents can reach an agreement together, but if not, the court will intervene. A typical agreement may include:

  • The child’s main residence
  • A detailed visitation schedule
  • Activities
  • Geographic restrictions
  • Modification instructions

3) Who Is Allowed to Create a Child Visitation Agreement?

State laws vary, though it is not uncommon for the parent with sole custody to create the visitation schedule. He or she will then submit it to the court, and if the judge approves, it will be a court order.

If both parents can cooperate with one another, they may reach an agreement together without court approval. Since circumstances can change, it is recommended to submit the agreement to a judge, which would make it legally enforceable in case something goes wrong.

4) Who Determines Child Visitation Guidelines?

If both parties can come to an agreement on child visitation, and submit it to the judge, it can be a fairly painless process. However, tensions may be high in custody cases, and child visitation guidelines may have to be left to the court.

5) What Are the Types of Child Visitation Arrangements?

Typically, child visitation arrangements can be broken down into one of two types:

  • Unsupervised visitation – The most common visitation, that allows the non-custodial parent spend his or her scheduled time with the child without being supervised by a neutral third party.
  • Supervised visitation – The court may order supervised visitation for a variety of reasons including: reintroduction of parent and child, parenting concerns or mental illness, a history of abuse, substance abuse or neglect, and if there is a threat of kidnapping.

In supervised visitation cases, the judge will specify the time and duration of visits, and will also designate the third party who will perform the supervision.

6) How Do I Create a Valid Visitation Agreement?

Together, or with a mediator, write down all of the important issues pertaining to the rearing of your child, making sure you are placing your child’s best interests first. Also include the following:

  • Any court orders or documents, such as divorce, paternity, and child custody award.
  • Documents concerning the child, e.g., letters, evaluations, or reports.
  • The child’s daily and school schedules.

7) Can Visitation Schedules Be Modified?

It is not uncommon for a visitation schedule to be modified. Life can get busy; jobs change, people move and children become more active. If you need to modify, try to work out an agreement with the other party, then submit it to the judge.

8) Are All Child Visitation Schedules Enforceable?

A visitation schedule is only enforceable if it has been approved by a judge, or if the parties have written a legal contract. Even if you already have an agreement worked out, it is still recommended to seek approval from the court.

9) What If a Child Visitation Schedule Has Been Violated?

If one party violates the visitation schedule, serious consequences may come into play, especially if it continues. A parent may lose visitation rights, be in contempt of court, or face criminal charges.

Schedule violations typically occur when a parent keeps the child over the scheduled time, or one parent denies the other their rights to visitation. If you have an issue with the visitation schedule, contact your attorney immediately.

10) Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Child Visitation Schedule?

If you are in the process of figuring out a visitation agreement, a child visitation attorney can assist you drafting the agreement, as well as filing it with the court. Custody arrangements can be highly contentious, and having a lawyer work out the details and represent your interests can be invaluable when it comes to your parental rights.

How to get visitation rights

LegalMatch Legal Writer

Sarah worked as a paralegal for several years after earning her BA in Psychology from University of Colorado at Boulder, and her paralegal certificate from the University of California at San Diego. She also worked as a volunteer at a legal clinic to help clients expunge their criminal records, as well as an Investigative Intern with the City of San Diego. To learn more about Sarah and her professional experience, be sure to check out her Linkedin Profile.

How to get visitation rights

An Aunt’s rights to child custody and visitation are non-existent.

Unless the parents are endangering the child.

This article tells you exactly how to get Aunt’s rights to child custody and visitation.

So, if you’re an Aunt trying to get custody rights, keep reading.

Custody battles can be devastating. It’s heartbreaking when parents lose custody of their children . Spouses end up having to pay agonizing amounts of financial support .

If you want to protect your rights, not wrongfully lose custody, and not get raked over the coals financially , fill out the form below.

What Are Aunts Rights Child Custody?

Let’s look at an Aunt’s rights for child custody for a couple of scenarios.

These scenarios include:

  • the Aunt has not been given rights by the courts or the parents
  • the Aunt has been given temporary guardianship of the children
  • the Aunt is filing for emergency custody of the children

No One Has Granted The Aunt’s Rights To Child Custody

If no one has granted an Aunt’s rights to child custody, then they do not have any.

Meaning an Aunt’s rights for child custody and visitation are non-existent.

Aunts do not have automatic rights to see their nieces and nephews.

But as with grandparent’s rights, an Aunt has the right to ask for visitation rights.

(We discuss getting visitation rights below.)

Temporary Guardianship And The Aunt’s Child Custody Rights

What custodial rights does temporary guardianship give an Aunt?

Some reasons that an Aunt could get temporary custody are:

  • the parents are soldiers getting deployed
  • the parents are firefighters fighting an ongoing forest fire
  • a parent is going to prison
  • a parent is going through a serious illness

In cases like this, the parents can grant an Aunt temporary custody of the child.

Temporary guardianship gives an Aunt rights to:

  • decide what school the child will attend
  • where the child will live
  • make medical decisions for the child

There are two ways for an Aunt to get temporary guardianship of a niece or nephew.

  • file a petition for temporary guardianship
  • get granted temporary guardianship by the courts

The other way to obtain Aunt’s child custody rights via temporary guardianship is emergency custody.

The Aunt Is Filing For Emergency Custody

An Aunt has the right to file for emergency custody of her niece or nephew.

Things that judges will grant emergency custody for are:

  • child abuse
  • parental kidnapping
  • child neglect
  • substance abuse
  • sexual offenses

Emergency custody hearings will get scheduled the same day the petition is filed.

The judges want to remove the child from dangerous situations.

But it can still be difficult to obtain Aunt’s rights to child custody with emergency custody.

The judge will make sure you’re the best option to take care of the child.

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.

Getting Visitation Rights as a Biological Parents

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.

However, if the parents do not agree or do not adhere to their own plan, they can turn the order in to a judge. The judge will likely refer you both to a mediator with Family Court Services.

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.

Getting Visitation Rights as a Third Party or Other Family Member

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.

Get Help from a California Visitation Rights Lawyer

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.