San Diego Third-Party Child Visitation Lawyers
Families can take on many shapes in today's world. It is common for children to reside in a home with stepparents, family friends, aunts, uncles, or grandparents. It can be devastating for someone to lose contact with a child due to divorce, a falling-out, or some other circumstance. California law, fortunately, allows these persons to request visitation with children. Our San Diego family law attorneys have handled numerous third-party visitation cases and understand the issues that will be important in a judge's decision. Contact our lawyers today to schedule an initial consultation.
Biological parents generally have exclusive authority in regards to child custody and choosing who will be part of a child's life. Others may be able to establish visitation rights, however, if they have lived in the same household as the child for an extended period of time. The burden is on the party requesting visitation to show that continuing the relationship would be in the child's best interests. Visitation will generally be found as being in a child's best interests if the child emotionally benefits from an ongoing relationship, or if the child may be harmed by interruption to the relationship.
If you are requesting visitation, you should not attempt to navigate this process alone. Our San Diego-based lawyers have handled many third-party visitation cases. We use your initial consultation to determine the nature of the relationship between yourself and the child. We will then file the necessary petitions to begin the case and, if appropriate, will file a motion for immediate visitation. The discovery process can be utilized as the case progresses so that issues in the parents' home can be established and presented to the court.
Normally, if the court has granted visitation rights to a third party, the individual who has legal custody over the child must comply. However, if the parent believes that visitation by the third party will not be in the child’s best interests, they can fight against the visitation schedule in court.
According to California law, the courts will grant reasonable visitation rights to stepparents, grandparents, and other relatives if it is determined that visitation is in the best interests of the child. The state has ruled that a child’s fundamental right to have healthy and stable relationships with a parental figure is more important than the biological parent’s right to custody. Anyone who has served in the capacity of a legal guardian for the child at some point in her or her life may be granted visitation rights.
Aunts, uncles, and grandparents can be granted visitation even while the custody case is still pending in court. They must first petition the court to be involved in the case, and then prove that their visitation would be in the best interests of the child.
Our founder, Thomas M. Huguenor, has been certified as a family law specialist by the State Bar of California. In our more than 35 years of experience, Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C., has handled numerous visitation cases for relatives and former stepparents. Maintaining a relationship may be critical to the child's well-being, and it is not something you should entrust to just any law firm. We have a history of obtaining results for clients that other lawyers previously said were unreachable, as shown in our testimonials. Call our San Diego family law attorneys at (858) 458-9500 today to schedule your initial consultation.